Cenex, a centre of excellence for low carbon technologies, will participate in the UK’s largest trial of biomethane-fuelled lorries.

Cenex operates as an independent not-for-profit consultancy and research organisation in the UK, and focuses on the projects that support innovation and market development to accelerate the shift to a low emission economy.

The objective of the trial is to demonstrate the benefits of including lower-emissions technologies into the UK’s logistics industry and HGV fleets, which account for 17% of all UK road transport emissions.

Cenex Transport head Steve Carroll said: “Cenex have a long history of supporting natural gas and biomethane use in the transport sector."

The trial will be led by Air Liquide, a global provider of gases, technologies and services to the industry and health, and will be partly funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles in partnership with Innovate UK through the recently launched Low Emission Freight and Logistics Project.

The ‘Dedicated to Gas’ trial will see the involvement of large fleet operators such as Kuehne and Nagel, Wincanton, ASDA, Brit European, Howard Tenens and Great Bear, to test the effectiveness of 81 dedicated gas-powered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

The trial will be conducted using five lorries ranging between 12t and 44t.

"Those running on biomethane fuel are expected to reduce CO² emissions by nearly 70%."

It will road test the HGVs across 10 different vehicle configurations, which will create data on vehicle performance, fuel efficiency, reliability, and cost.

The test vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are expected to decrease CO² emissions by nearly 8%, and those running on biomethane fuel are expected to reduce CO² emissions by nearly 70% in comparison to a similarly sized diesel HGV.

During this trial, the effectiveness of the new cryogenic trailer refrigeration technology will also be tested.

The liquid nitrogen cooling system is said to optimise the high energy demands of refrigeration units, which would result in further reducing HGVs CO² and air quality emissions.

Cenex will work in partnership with Air Liquide to manage all data analysis, as well as project dissemination, and would update a dedicated gas vehicle hub website.

In partnership with Air Liquide, the project lead, Cenex will manage all data analysis and project dissemination, update a dedicated gas vehicle hub website, and organise informational workshops for participating fleet operators and interested members of the industry.

Participating fleets will be supported by technical experts who will collate comprehensive data through telematics systems provided by Microlise and PEMS testing by Emissions Analytics, providing a full analysis of the potential benefits of gas technology compared to diesel.