Developing a sustainable infrastructure for refuelling will be essential for increasing the usage of alternative fuels says DHL Supply Chain.
In its latest white paper on the future for alternative fuels, it suggests that Europe needs to consider implementing a refuelling system first before alternative fuels can become mainstream for commercial vehicles.
Ian MacAulay, Innovation and Efficiency Manager at DHL Engineering says that a number of companies have looked at a options to lower their emissions, adding that it is imperative to have the right infrastructure in place first.
“We’ve seen customers from all industries come to DHL to ask about how they can cut their carbon footprint, not only because of regulation and environmental concerns but mostly because they are realising the economic potential of switching to more sustainable, alternative fuels.
“We are working with a range of businesses to spot where dual fuel might be appropriate, or identify where experimentation with bio-fuels, as we did with JD Weatherspoons, is an option.”
DHL says that currently dual-fuel is the best compromise as it has been designed to operate with weights in excess of 44-tonnes, and can offer significant CO2 reductions. DHL Supply Chain has experienced improvements with its 147-strong fleet cutting more than 1,200 tonnes from its CO2 emissions.
In the UK, the on-going £13.5 million funded Low Carbon Truck and Refuelling Infrastructure Demonstration Trial, has been developed to leave an infrastructure legacy to build on as there will be 26 alternative fuelling stations in operation after the trial concludes.
The trial is also implementing 354 trucks in that time that run on alternative fuels, most as dual-fuel trucks. Meanwhile, the government has committed to maintain a fuel duty differential between gas and diesel until 2024, which it hopes will encourage operators to invest in the technology.
But the Department for Transport has maintained previously that although dual-fuel is good for the medium term, the use of methane is recommended for the future of HGV fuels. However, Örjan Åslund from Scania, doesn’t believe the solution is that simple.
“We believe that there is no single answer on the future use of alternative fuels, but that a multitude of technologies, including different levels of hybridisation and systems where electricity is supplied from external sources such as inductive roads, will be key.”