BOC, the UK’s largest supplier of compressed and liquefied gases, is helping the logistics specialists Stobart Group to quantify the benefits of low-carbon Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as fuel for its fleet of heavy goods vehicles.

The two organisations are taking part in a £23 million programme coordinated by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB). This aims to encourage road haulage operators in the UK to buy and use low-carbon commercial vehicles.

BOC, a member of The Linde Group, will provide refuelling facilities for the Eddie Stobart fleet of dual-fuel vehicles at one of Stobart Group’s regional hubs with scope for other operators to use these facilities. The project will track the usage of LNG – which typically accounts for up to 65-70% of total fuel consumption for a dual-fuel vehicle – as well as the reduction in CO2 emissions. It will also provide an opportunity to rigorously assess BOC’s innovative refuelling technology.

BOC has developed a highly-efficient, ‘no-loss’ technology, using its unrivalled expertise in cryogenic cooling technology to temperature-condition the fuel just prior to dispensing. This ensures that no fuel is lost to evaporation and venting during the refuelling process. Typically, 20% – and sometimes more – can be lost with more conventional systems, so this represents a major cost and carbon saving to users. The design and engineering of the new LNG dispensing systems have gas-leak detection sensors linked to automatic shutdown protocols and other innovative safety features.

The new systems are backed up by the global expertise of The Linde Group which operates LNG supply systems in other parts of the world, including Scandinavia, Australia and the USA.

The systematic evaluation of the vehicles and the refuelling technologies in the field, as an integrated part of a large vehicle fleet, will help identify potential further refinements of the technology and provide opportunities to improve sustainability in the logistics sector.

Commenting on the TSB award, Kate Willard, Stobart Group Corporate Affairs Director, said, “Stobart Group is always keen to help stimulate UK technological innovation in the logistics sector, and is therefore delighted to be one of a small number of winning bids from the TSB competition. The dual-fuel technology will help deliver cost control and reduced emissions for the Group and our customers. We very much look forward to working with TSB and BOC to use this funding to encourage more investment in critical technological solutions such as these.”

BOC’s Director of Bulk and Packaged Gases, Nathan Palmer, added, “Minimising fuel losses when refuelling will make a major improvement to the already strong environmental credentials of LNG as a transport fuel. This project will allow us and the Stobart Group to quantify just what is possible with this technology.”