New renewable biomethane refuelling station to open in Northampton

CNG Fuels is opening a renewable biomethane refuelling station at Northampton as part a study demonstrating how compressed natural gas (CNG) can help slash road transport emissions.

The project, which has received funding from the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK, aims to encourage UK fleet operators to switch from diesel to cost-effective, low-carbon biomethane fuel by demonstrating performance benefits, and by showing that CNG stations can support growing demand for gas.

The new Northampton public access refuelling station will open this autumn at the Red Lion Truck Stop, off junction 16 of the M1, just up the road from Magna Park, Milton Keynes, one of the UK’s largest distribution parks where Waitrose and John Lewis have their national distribution hub.

The station will be used by a new Waitrose fleet of 58 state-of-the-art dedicated CNG trucks engaged in long-haul, inter-city and urban runs, including six trialling zero-emissions refrigeration units powered by the truck’s gas engine. Performance data will be analysed by a University of Cambridge team.

Northampton will be able to refuel more than 350 trucks a day and can be supplied by mobile CNG trailers if an emergency cuts off its gas supply. Back-up power generation will allow it to continue operating in a power cut.

A team from the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight at Cambridge University will compare the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of the CNG trucks with diesel equivalents in a range of settings. It will also compare the performance of electric refrigeration units powered by the CNG engine with conventional units powered by auxiliary diesel engines.

The trial is due to finish in September 2019 and will produce the first report on the performance of a large dedicated CNG fleet and its refuelling infrastructure for OLEV, giving it valuable evidence to promote the benefits of low-carbon technologies to the freight transport industry.

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