The trial was organised in conjunction with Cenex, the government-funded Centre of Excellence for low-carbon and fuel-cell technologies, and compared the performance of two 21 tonne Stralis rigids - one running on compressed biomethane (CBM) and the other on diesel.
It found that the CBM-powered Stralis will make a 60.7 per cent saving in well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions, compared to the Stralis with an EEV-compliant diesel engine. Similarly, it will cut NOX and PM emissions by 85.6 per cent and 97.1 per cent respectively. The report also confirmed gas vehicle availability during the trial was an impressive 99.2 per cent.
Darren O'Donnell, Logistics Asset Manager at CCE, says: "Securing Cenex's involvement has given us the confidence to introduce new vehicle technology and fuels which will make step-changes in our emissions performance.
"Our investment in 13 additional trucks and a permanent CBM refuelling station at our depot in Enfield is not a token gesture; it's testament to our confidence in this technology and our commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of our fleet. The environmental benefits of CBM have been clearly proven by the trial and we hope other fleets will be inspired to follow our lead," he adds.
The new vehicles have been supplied on a six year contract hire agreement by Contract Vehicle Limited, including full repair and maintenance within the Iveco dealer network.
They will be based at CCE's Enfield depot in North London, although will temporarily operate from a strategically located satellite facility in Dagenham this summer. During this period, refuelling will be provided on-site via a semi-trailer.
The Stralis AD260S30Y/FS-D CNG is purpose-built on the Iveco factory-line for gas powered applications and is recommended for operation in the UK with CBM supplied by Gasrec. This fuel has the lowest carbon intensity of all commercially available alternative fuels and comes from a landfill site in Surrey, which means it is not depleting any fossil resources. This allows CCE to power the Stralis using the latent energy recovered from rubbish thrown away by society.
Power is provided by a 7.8 litre FPT Cursor 8 engine driven through an Allison 3500 six-speed automated gearbox. The specification also includes full air-suspension, which ensures a completely level chassis regardless of whether the vehicle is unladen, laden, lowered for manual unloading or raised for "dock" loading. A rear-steering axle and reversing cameras also aid manoeuvrability and road safety.
Each of the new vehicles has been mounted with a Bevan curtainside body and joins a fleet of approximately 250 commercial vehicles operated directly by CCE. They will be used exclusively for urban multi-drop distribution, carrying out up to 25 drops per day.