Switching the UK’s fleet of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) from diesel to biogas could reduce the carbon emissions of the freight sector by almost two thirds, according to a new report.
Currently the UK’s HGV fleet is almost exclusively made up of diesel fuelled vehicles, which account for about 7% of the UK's total CO2 emissions
This research by consultants Ricardo-AEA identifies typical HGV duty cycles, their share of CO2 emissions and which technologies and alternative fuels could best reduce these emissions.
Three key areas of opportunity are highlighted in the report:
1. Switching to biogas
The report concludes that one of the most effective strategies to achieve well-to-wheels (WTW) CO2 emission reduction in this sector is to encourage a large scale shift to the use of gas as a fuel to replace diesel. In the longer term the report says that using biomethane could offer reductions of between 33% and 65%
2. Improving aerodynamic efficiency and reducing rolling resistance
The report states that over half of the energy transmitted to the wheels of a typical long haul HGV is estimated to be lost in rolling resistance, and over a third as aerodynamic drag. Doing more to encourage uptake of aerodynamic devices and less resistant tyres could lead to carbon reductions of 10%
3. Supporting the uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles
Electric and hybrid vehicles would be particularly suitable for urban and municipal utility duty cycles, says the report, and using these instead of diesel trucks could reduce carbon emissions in the sector by 8%.
Ricardo-AEA produced the report for The Task Force on Fuel Efficient, Low Emission HGV Technologies, a joint industry/Government initiative aimed at promoting the use of fuel efficient, low emission road freight technologies.