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Successful six-month trial of biomethane vehicle

A six-month trial comparing compressed biomethane to compressed natural gas in street-cleaning vehicles has proven successful.

The findings show a 56 per cent saving in CO2 emissions, which include emissions released during fuel production and distribution. Emissions savings of 53 to 59 per cent could also be achieved when compared to a similar size diesel vehicle.

The trial - which took place in Camden - was carried out by waste management company Veolia Environmental Services, compressed biomethane producer Gasrec, commercial vehicle manufacturer Iveco and vehicle suppliers Stormont Truck & Van. Funding support was provided for the scheme by low carbon technology supporter Cenex.

Veolia managing director for technical services Keith Riley said: From this trial we can see that there is an opportunity for further development of this type of technology in some of our operations and areas that we can now consider. This includes developing a system to harness the fuel from our own network landfill sites and seeing if we can work with our partners in utilising the technology among our fleet of light goods vehicles.

Biomethane fuel utilises methane given off by waste sent to landfill. A specially designed gas-powered engine is then able to convert this energy to power a vehicle. Used to fuel street cleaning vehicles it is a closed-loop process, as the vehicle collects waste to be sent to landfill, which releases methane to be used as fuel.

Due to the improved fuel quality the CBM-powered vehicle only needs to be refilled once for a double shift while CNG vehicles have to be filled up twice. It also emits very low nitrogen oxide levels, minimising the impact on air quality.

Gasrec chief executive Richard Lilleystone said: We are particularly pleased with the improvements achieved in air quality when using CBM to replace diesel. Every local authority in the UK would welcome reductions of 90 per cent particulate matter, 60 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide, 50 per cent reduction in sulphur dioxide and even a noise reduction of around 30 per cent.

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