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Tesco joins trials for low-carbon trucks

London, UK: Tesco and Robert Wiseman Dairies are among 13 companies leading trials in a new low carbon programme, managed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) in partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

The TSB has launched a £23m demonstration project, backed by £9.5m from the DfT, which will see fleet operators test out new low-carbon vehicle technology and refuelling infrastructure. About half the funding will support the use of over 300 low-carbon commercial vehicles that will be tested by the companies.

Eleven public refuelling stations will be installed in the UK available for use by other operators.

esco plans to introduce 35 dual-fuel tractor units at its frozen food distribution centre on junction 18 of the M1, making use of the first large-scale commercial liquid natural gas (LNG) and biogas refuelling station that is being installed nearby by Gasrec.

Meanwhile Robert Wiseman Dairies, collaborating with Chive Fuels, Cenex and MIRA, will trial the use of 40 new warranted dual-fuel 40 tonne artics,  substituting diesel with natural gas from two upgraded public access liquefied natural gas stations, one in the West Midlands and one in Scotland.

Transport minister Mike Penning hopes the project will help overcome some of the cost barriers faced by fleet operators keen to use low-carbon fuel.

“These trials will reduce CO2 emissions from freight and provide important information from a range of real-life situations that will increase industry confidence in low-carbon trucks in the long term,” he says. “For example, operators often cite lack of gas refuelling infrastructure as a barrier to the take up of alternatives to diesel.”

The other trials include Brit European Transport in Crewe and The BOC Group in Guildford. The demonstration trial fleets will be run for two years. The DfT will gather and analyse the data.

Iain Gray, chief executive of TSB, says the trial will help commercial vehicle operators showcase alternative-fuel commercial vehicles. “It will help to accelerate a wider understanding and acceptance of low-carbon vehicle technologies, while enabling the development of alternative fuel infrastructures,” he says.