CNG Fuels today announced plans to become the UK’s first supplier of carbon neutral fuel for HGVs, using manure to help fleet operators achieve Net Zero emissions.
The company is also consulting on how its network of refuelling stations can best accommodate low-carbon hydrogen and battery electric technologies for HGVs, so that it can support customers when these become commercially viable.
Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels, said: “We want to help decarbonise freight transport and enable fleet operators to meet Net Zero targets now, supporting the UK’s climate targets. Renewable biomethane sourced from manure is currently the best low-carbon solution for HGVs, but we want to be ready to support our customers when other technologies are commercially viable for freight transport.”
Andy Eastlake, Managing Director of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, said: “With all the focus on electrification, the low carbon combustion fuels might be overlooked. But it is vital to remember that Net Zero can be delivered in a number of ways. The LowCVP welcome genuinely zero (or even negative) carbon solutions which exist here and now and we must accelerate the uptake of these fuel solutions, particularly in the more challenging operations such as heavy road vehicles where they can best displace fossil diesel.”
Manure gives off methane, a greenhouse gas 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.Using methane as an HGV fuel prevents it from going into the atmosphere and reduces overall emissions. The EU’s revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) recognises biomethane from manure as a carbon negative fuel, and the UK is expected to adopt it in 2021 regardless of Brexit.
CNG Fuels is the UK’s leading supplier of Bio-CNG (compressed natural gas) fuel, 100% sourced from renewable biomethane and approved under the Department for Transport’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) scheme. It is the lowest-carbon, most cost-effective alternative to diesel for HGVs, cutting vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 85% and with a reduction in cost of 35%-45%.
The company currently sources biomethane from food waste but it is in the process of securing supplies of biomethane from manure to create a fuel that will be net zero emissions on a well-to-wheel basis. It expects to begin offering carbon neutral biomethane from 2021 at the same price as the renewable biomethane fuel it currently supplies.
HGVs account for 4.2% of UK carbon emissions, so decarbonising the sector is essential to meet the UK’s goal of achieving Net Zero by 2050.
CNG Fuels is developing a nationwide network of public access HGV refuelling stations on major routes to reach fleet operators all over the UK. Stations are supplied with biomethane via the existing gas grid, compressing it into fuel at the point of delivery. Low processing, transportation and electricity costs make renewable biomethane a low-cost, clean solution.
This strategic network will be ideally placed to support battery electric and hydrogen powered HGVs in the future. The Committee on Climate Change expects battery electric or hydrogen-powered HGVs to play a major role in decarbonising freight transport from 2030 onwards. 
Philip Fjeld said: “We want to support our customers when new low-carbon fuels become available, so when we build our Bio-CNG stations, we carry out a review to understand how we can fuel hydrogen and electric trucks. We are in discussions with numerous providers of alternative fuelling solutions and consulting with customers on how they expect their needs to evolve.”
Ed Syson, Chief Safety and Strategy Officer at Cadent, Britain’s biggest gas network which supplies many of CNG Fuels’ stations, said: “We are transforming and future proofing our networks so we can deliver low carbon gases cost-effectively to provide clean fuels for HGVs and other difficult to decarbonise transport sectors.
“Today we are helping to decarbonise road transport by delivering renewable biomethane, from producers connected to our networks, to CNG Fuels’ network of refuelling stations. We are already building on this with our partners to provide hydrogen solutions for a Net Zero future.”
CNG Fuels began supplying RTFO-certified renewable biomethane three years ago this month and the fuel has been adopted by a growing number of freight operators. The John Lewis partnership has committed to replace its entire 500-strong fleet with CNG vehicles by 2028 while parcel company Hermes also plans to replace its 200-strong fleet of diesel trucks. Other major brands adopting biomethane include Argos, ASDA and Cadent.
The Solihull-based company is the UK’s only dedicated provider of public access CNG refuelling infrastructure. In spring 2020 it expects to have six refuelling stations in operation, serving major trunk roads and cities, and capable of refuelling up to 3,000 HGVs a day.