Natural gas has a role to play to reduce emissions in heavy duty vehicles as part of a blended mix of fuels and technologies.
Natural gas has the potential to reduce emissions over the well-to-motion cycle by 13 to 24 per cent in 2035.
A period of fuel tax duty stability would help build market confidence and enable investment in natural gas vehicles and support infrastructure.
A new report released today by the ETI will help support industry and government to make decisions about the future economic and environmental impact of using natural gas as a HDV fuel.
The Natural Gas Pathway Analysis for Heavy Duty Vehicles, led by energy consultancy specialists Element Energy, has calculated the potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by identifying the differences in use of natural gas for HDV transportation. This well-to-motion analysis has compared current diesel fuel infrastructure and technology to natural gas powered HDVs in the UK market, to establish scenarios for the infrastructure changes needed for successful implementation.
Considering both liquid natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG), the report reveals that CNG has the potential to reduce emissions over the well-to-motion cycle by 20-24 per cent in 2035, whilst an emissions reduction of 13-16 per cent from LNG is possible.
The report also highlights that natural gas has the potential to improve air quality and acts as a useful CO2 reduction measure where zero emissions solutions are not yet viable, such as in long haul HDVs.
A switch to natural gas HDVs would require major investment in infrastructure. To deliver a best-case scenario, the report recommends that policy makers look to implement a period of fuel tax stability.
This analysis has shown us that natural gas has a role to play in reducing emissions for heavy duty vehicles, but ultimately there is a need for a blended mix of fuels and technologies across fleets if we are to meet UK decarbonisation targets by 2050
Within this mix we see a combination of natural gas fuel for HDVs, electric power for transport such as buses and urban deliveries as well as efficiency improvements within internal combustion engines. However, due to the high costs needed in order to modify the infrastructure to support the introduction of natural gas as fuel source the government should look towards freezing fuel tax duty to ensure industry can make the necessary capital investments in natural gas provision.
Alex Stewart, director from Element Energy said:
“We have worked closely with industry and academic experts to calculate the impact on costs and emissions at every stage of the well-to-motion process. The project outputs provide new insights into how the UK can maximize the environmental and economic benefits of using natural gas in heavy duty vehicles.
“We hope the detailed research and modelled scenarios from the report will help inform policy makers, for example on decisions regarding fuel duty and if taken forward support for the necessary infrastructure investment to create a self-sustaining, long-term market.”
Alongside Element Energy, the year-long project also included experts from the University College London, CNG Services, Strateco AB and S&T Squared Consultants.