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Southeast to get biomethane HGV refuelling station

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

New biomethane refuelling station to be built at Waitrose's Kent distribution centre
New biomethane refuelling station to be built at Waitrose's Kent distribution centre

Related tags Transport Investment Sustainability

Construction of the first Southeast England biomethane HGV refuelling station has begun in Aylesford, Kent.

The announcement follows a collaboration between renewable biomethane (or Bio-CNG) supplier ReFuels and the John Lewis Partnership (JLP).

The new station is set to be built adjacent to Waitrose’s southeast distribution centre, where it will serve both JLP HGVs as well as local and passing fleets.

The news comes just days after the UK Government’s long-awaited biomass strategy​ which backed biomethane as an attractive fuel for HGVs and other fleets which are more difficult to electrify.

Currently, it’s estimated that HGVs account for 4.2% of UK carbon emissions, making the sector a key component of the UK’s goal to achieve net zero by 2050.

According to ReFuels, its renewable biomethane, derived from food waste and manure, is the “lowest carbon”​ and “most cost-effective alternative fuel to diesel available to HGVs today”, ​said to be capable of cutting emission by more than 90% and providing a 40% lifetime fuel cost saving.

With the capability of fuelling more than 500 trucks per day, ReFuel estimates it will save almost 60,000 tonnes of CO2 ​annually and act as a powerful solution to decarbonising fleets in/passing through Kent.

The new site will feature 12 pumps able to deliver 19m/kg of biomethane per year and will add to the company’s existing network of 12 refuelling stations across the UK.

“John Lewis Partnership took delivery of its first dedicated CNG trucks in 2015 and now operates 400 CNG trucks, which is the largest biomethane-powered truck fleet in the UK,”​ commented JLP’s general manager of fleets, Justin Laney.

“We are delighted that CNG Fuels has started construction of a high-capacity Bio-CNG station in Aylesford, where Waitrose has its southeast distribution centre. John Lewis Partnership is committed to all of its 520 heavy-duty trucks running on biomethane by 2028, and the Bio-CNG station in Aylesford is another important step towards realising this goal.”

Demand for Bio-CNG from fleet operators is on the rise, with 3,799 tonnes of Bio-CNG dispensed across CNG Fuels’ stations in July alone. This is equivalent to an 80% increase compared to the same period last year.

ReFuels has one other station under construction in Bangor, North Wales, which is due to start operations next month; and at least two more stations are expected to commence construction this year.

By 2026, the company aims to have 30-40 stations in operation, with a total capacity of up to 15,000 HGVs refuelling per day and more than 600m/kg of biomethane dispensed annually.

In other news, Food Manufacture hears from fruit and veg brand Riverford on electrified delivery - read the exclusive article here.

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1 comment

Heartening progress in the fight against carbon emissions

Posted by Steve Last,

Well, I must say it's heartening to see progress being made in the fight against carbon emissions. Building the first biomethane HGV refuelling station in Southeast England is a step in the right direction, especially considering HGVs account for a significant 4.2% of the UK's carbon emissions.

And it's not just any old compressed methane, it's renewable biomethane derived from food waste and manure, which ReFuels claims is the "lowest carbon" and "most cost-effective alternative fuel to diesel available to HGVs today". If it can indeed cut emissions by more than 90% and provide a 40% lifetime fuel cost saving, that's a win-win situation for everyone involved. And the fact that it can fuel more than 500 trucks per day and save almost 60,000 tonnes of CO2 annually makes it a powerful tool in the quest to achieve net zero by 2050. Good on ReFuels and the John Lewis Partnership for collaborating on this important initiative. It's actions like these that will make a real difference in the long run.

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