Six of the UK’s major fleet operators are to trial natural gas powered lorries.

Led by Air Liquide, world leader in gases, technologies and services for industry and health, the ‘Dedicated to Gas’ trial will see large fleet operators including ASDA, Kuehne + Nagel, Wincanton, Brit European, Howard Tenens and Great Bear, trial the effectiveness of 81 dedicated gas-powered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

The five lorries being trialled range from 12 to 44 tonnes and are all new to the UK market. The trial will road test the HGVs across ten different vehicle configurations, creating a wealth of valuable data on vehicle performance, fuel efficiency, reliability and cost.

Trial vehicles running on compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are expected to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 8%, and those run on biomethane can expect to see a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions, compared to a similarly sized diesel HGV.

The trial will also test liquid nitrogen cooling systems, which aim to reduce the high energy demands of refrigeration units and further reduce emissions.

The project, funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles in partnership with Innovate UK, aims to demonstrate lower-emissions technology innovation into the UK’s logistics industry and HGV fleets, which account for 17% of all UK road transport emissions. Working in partnership with Air Liquide, Cenex, the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for low carbon technologies, will showcase the results of the project online to illustrate the potential benefits of gas powered transportation.

Daniel Lambert, Commercial Director at Air Liquide Advanced Business and Technologies UK, said, “Air Liquide is hopeful that this trial can bring much needed new fuel sources to the UK’s HGV fleets. OEMs are working hard to bring promising zero emissions technologies to the new lorries they design, but without real life road testing by big fleet customers, these technologies will not be able to impact CO2 emissions in a big way. We look forward to leading this innovative trial, and sharing the results with other HGV fleet operators across Europe and the globe.”

John Rogerson, Fleet Operations Manager at ASDA, concluded, “We are excited to work with Cenex, Air Liquide and our other project partners to hopefully demonstrate the impact low-emissions HGV technology can have on the entire industry, while infusing the latest technology into our fleet and reducing our overall carbon footprint.”