Switching from diesel to gas, reducing rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag and introducing more hybrid and electric vehicles are identified as key opportunities for further cutting carbon and improving efficiency in the road freight sector, research suggests.
The report, commissioned by the Transport Knowledge Transfer Network (TKTN) and the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), focuses on the key technical opportunities, but importantly identifies options to overcome the barriers to the adoption of carbon reduction technologies in the road freight sector, which is responsible for around 7% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions.
The report highlights that with two leading UK companies specialising in dual fuel technology, encouraging a shift to gas - both compressed (CNG) and liquid (LNG) - could provide significant growth and export opportunities for the UK as well as reducing well-to-wheel (WTW) emissions by up to 65% if the gas (methane) used is derived from a renewable source (biomethane).
Hybrid and pure electric vehicles are particularly suited to urban delivery and municipal duties (which account for about 14% of all HGV CO2 emissions) and could deliver 20-50% emissions savings on a WTW basis with significant added benefits in terms of urban air quality and noise reduction.
With more than half of the energy transmitted to the wheels of a typical long haul HGV estimated to be lost in rolling resistance and over a third as aerodynamic drag the report says that more could be done to encourage the adoption of technologies such as low rolling resistance and single wide tyres or aerodynamic aids, which together may offer up to 10% WTW CO2 savings while having the potential to also cut vehicle operators’ costs.
The report has fed in to the work of the task force on fuel efficient, low emission HGV technologies, which is a joint industry/Government initiative aimed at promoting the use of fuel efficient, low emission road freight technologies.
Led by the Department for Transport, the Task Force membership includes the LowCVP, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the Transport Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Road Haulage Association (RHA).
The report found that long haul and regional deliveries account for about 70 % of UK HGV CO2 emissions and therefore suggests that efforts should be focused here.
Andy Eastlake, managing director of the LowCVP, said: “The low carbon truck trials are a good start but we need a long-term road transport gas strategy to build on the progress made so far.
“Like the car market, the hybrid truck market would benefit from incentives to encourage early adoption.
“Accrediting fuel saving technologies such as aerodynamic aids and low-rolling-resistance tyres would also accelerate market uptake of these helpful carbon and, potentially, cost-reduction technologies.”