U.K. jumpstarts low-carbon truck fleets with trial funding

John Lewis and United Biscuits are among 12 companies signed up to a new project aimed at encouraging fleet operators to use cleaner fuels for heavy goods vehicles.

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) today launched a $36.5 million demonstration project, backed by $15.1 million from the Department for Transport (DfT), which will see fleet operators test out new low-carbon vehicle technology and refueling infrastructure.

About half the funding will support the deployment of more than 300 low-carbon commercial vehicles that will be tested by the companies.

John Lewis Partnership is hoping to use the cash to help improve the aerodynamics of its articulated vehicles and replace diesel with bio-methane, achieving a 70 percent reduction in carbon emissions in the process.

Meanwhile, Tesco plans to introduce 35 dual-fuel tractor units at its frozen food distribution centre on junction 18 of the M1, making use of the first large-scale commercial liquid natural gas (LNG) and biogas refuelling station that is being installed nearby by Gasrec.

Similarly, United Biscuits has revealed it will start using old cooking oil in its trucks, while Robert Wiseman Dairies plans to replace diesel with natural gas, in a move designed to reduce carbon emissions.

Significantly, $3.8 million of the funding pot will pay for 11 new public access refuelling stations to be installed around the country, which will be available for use by other operators.

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