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New Report Shows Environmental Benefit of Gas-Powered Vehicles


A new study by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), an organization aimed to accelerate a sustainable shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels in the UK, shows that dedicated gas commercial vehicles have the potential to deliver significant greenhouse gas (GHG) savings when a non-fossil, renewable or synthetic methane blend is used.

The work—Emissions Testing of Gas-Powered Commercial Vehicles—published by the Department for Transport and supported by members of the LowCVP’s newly-formed Commercial Vehicle Working Group, recommends that the Government should continue to support the development of gas vehicle infrastructure and gas-powered vehicles, particularly dedicated gas, while increasing the supply of low carbon, renewable natural gas as a sustainable transport fuel in order to realize these benefits.

The primary opportunity identified in the earlier report Low Carbon HGV Barriers and Opportunities (2012) was to increase the use of natural gas and, ultimately, renewable natural gas, as a road fuel for heavy goods vehicle operation.

The LowCVP was commissioned in 2016 to conduct a testing program on the latest natural gas trucks to identify the performance of Euro VI vehicles and identify the greenhouse gas impacts, highlighting any areas for further development.

Stakeholders have indicated that effective catalysis of natural gas is possible, as is more effective in-cylinder natural gas combustion. Two current Innovate UK/OLEV-funded projects are developing new retrofit dual-fuel systems that will be completed in 2019. At least one OEM is developing its own dual fuel system, with availability anticipated towards the end of 2017.

The testing indicates that the transition to Euro VI has, for diesel heavy goods vehicles, been effective in cutting overall NOx emissions by over 98 percent when compared to Euro V vehicles. A further move from Euro VI diesel vehicles to Euro VI dedicated gas increases the magnitude of that reduction in NOx emissions to at least 99 percent.

The LowCVP has been supporting the Department for Transport Task Force in activity to develop an overarching strategy together for HGV operation on natural gas. The LowCVP study has been published alongside the final report on the Low Carbon Truck and Refuelling Infrastructure Demonstration Trial, which began in 2012 and concluded in 2016.