Road freight accounts for around 7% of the UK's total CO2 emissions, with long haul and regional deliveries responsible for 70% of this figure.
Report shows how GHG emissions for HGVs could be significantly cut
A new report, commissioned by the Transport Knowledge Transfer Network (TKTN) and the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) and written by Ricardo-AEA for the project partners, focuses on the key technical opportunities. Importantly, it also identifies options to overcome the main barriers to the adoption of carbon reduction technologies, in the road freight sector.
Neil Ridley, Transport KTN Director says
“The freight sector is of strategic importance to the UK economy and we need to support and aid its adoption of low carbon technologies. Drawing on learning from other sectors, this report enables all involved in the freight and logistics industry to easily identify the most significant contributors to carbon reduction and fuel improvements by vehicle duty cycle.
The Transport KTN is delighted to have supported this piece of work as we continue to work with government and key strategic industry players to help capitalise on the benefits that these low carbon technologies can offer to the Freight and Logistics industry and the wider community."
Read the press release here.
The three key areas with the greatest potential to achieve CO2 emission reductions are:
1) Switching to gas - up to 65 % (biomethane) / 16% (methane) WTW savings
One of the most effective strategies to achieve well-to-wheels (WTW) CO2e emission reduction in this sector is to encourage a large scale shift to the use of gas as a fuel to replace diesel. The UK has an opportunity to support economic growth and export technology with two leading UK companies specialising in dual fuel technology. Non-renewable CNG and LNG could provide significant CO2e reduction (5-16 % saving in UK HGV CO2e for CNG). In the longer term, biomethane could offer even greater reductions (33-65 % saving in UK HGV CO2e). Running HGVs on gas, whether non-renewable natural gas (CNG/LNG) or biomethane (gas or liquid) has the additional benefit of achieving substantial improvements in air pollution.
2) Improving aerodynamic efficiency / reducing rolling resistance - up to 10 % WTW savings
More than half of the energy transmitted to the wheels of a typical long haul HGV is estimated to be lost in rolling resistance, and over a third as aerodynamic drag. Long haul and regional delivery vehicles are estimated to account for 70% of total HGV CO2 emissions. These vehicles, as well as many construction vehicles, spend a significant portion of their working life at speeds of 40mph or more. While there is general acceptance and use of some aerodynamic devices, more could be done to encourage uptake which would in many cases result in short payback periods for vehicle operators. Low rolling resistance and single wide tyres offer further CO2e savings while potentially reducing overall costs for vehicle operators. In total it is estimated up to 10% WTW and TTW (tank-to-wheels, i.e. direct) emissions savings are possible.
3) Supporting uptake of hybrid and pure electric vehicles - up to 8 % WTW savings
Hybrid and pure electric vehicle technologies are particularly suitable for urban delivery and municipal utility duty cycles. While these duty cycles only account for about 14% of total HGV CO2e emissions, these technologies have the potential to reduce this contribution by 20-50% on a WTW basis. They also provide additional benefits of lower noise and reduce, or in the case of pure electric vehicles, eliminate tailpipe emissions of air pollutants, which is particularly important to improve air quality in urban areas. Hybrid technology can also be applied to HGVs fitted with engines capable of running on gas.
1. The Ricardo-AEA report has fed in to the work of the DfT Strategic Task Force on Fuel Efficient, Low Emission Commercial Vehicle Technologies which is a joint industry/government initiative aimed at promoting the use of fuel efficient, low emission road freight technologies.
2. 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).
Download the report
View the press release