Are fleets transitioning from diesel to biomethane at the pace you expected?
We have seen huge growth in the gas truck market over the last two years, and that’s despite the extended lead times right now for new trucks.
This demand for gas trucks is driven by intense pressure on the industry to reduce its carbon footprint, and the simple reality is that for the majority of regional and long-distance applications, gas is the only genuine diesel alternative available right now.
You only need to look at the businesses which have been investing in gas trucks in a big way within the last 12 months to see the direction of travel. The fleets include Amazon, Asda, Gregory Distribution, Ocado, Reed Boardall and Samworth Brothers Distribution, to name just a few.
BP recently acquired a 29% stake in Gasrec. What does this mean for your customers?Securing the deal with BP marks a really important milestone for Gasrec. It means customers can take our 19 years of experience within the sector and add to that a guaranteed supply of renewable biomethane, offering significantly greater carbon savings than simply running on regular CNG or LNG. It puts Gasrec in the best possible position to support our customers’ growing desire to de-carbonise their businesses.
What would you say to a fleet operator planning to wait until electric or hydrogen are mainstream alternatives, before switching from diesel?
Naturally, you’d expect me to say don’t sit on the fence and wait, but I make this point for a very good reason. If you are planning to wait until series production of zero emission trucks gets both properly underway and is financially viable for most fleets, then I think you’ll be waiting a long time and you are at risk of being overtaken by your rivals.
Our model is to build the biomethane refuelling facilities for everyone to make use of. If we do that, and you buy a gas truck that you’re planning to run for three-to-five years, what are the chances of a new technology coming along which means your investment didn’t work out? It’s next to zero. And if we’re the ones investing in the gas infrastructure in the meantime, you’ve genuinely got nothing to lose – and a lot to gain.
How straightforward is it for a fleet to transition to biomethane?
The majority of the fleets we work with have been surprised by how straight-forward the process of switching fuels has been.
From our perspective, we are absolutely focused on ensuring the infrastructure and supply chain is there for any operator in the country that wants to make the move to biomethane.
We’ve been investing heavily in refuelling infrastructure for both dedicated on-site stations and larger open-access facilities, which we’ll be busy deploying throughout 2022.
How big an impact can the industry have with biomethane?
The impact we can collectively have as an industry is huge. To put this in perspective, if we replace 18,000 diesel-powered trucks with equivalent models running on Bio-LNG, which we are finding is the most popular alternative fuel, then this has the same impact as taking 525,000 petrol and diesel-powered cars off our roads and replacing them with electric cars.
James Westcott, Chief Commercial Officer, Gasrec