Case study

Trialling biomethane to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at Howard Tenens

Background

Established in 1953, Howard Tenens is one of the largest independently owned and operated logistics companies in the UK, employing more than 750 staff and operating a fleet of 200 commercial vehicles, ranging from 3.5 tonne vans to 44 tonne articulated trucks.

The approach

Howard Tenens employed its first dual fuel gas-powered trucks in 2009, which were successful from an operational perspective but did not deliver the environmental benefits they were striving for.

The Low Emissions Freight Trial provided the opportunity to integrate dedicated gas trucks that were powered by biomethane into their fleet, to achieve significant carbon savings. As part of this, Howard Tenens purchased two Scania 26 tonne rigid trucks and compared the performance against an equivalent diesel vehicle of the same specification from Scania.

Prior to the vehicles arriving, Howard Tenens informed drivers of new technology and the environmental benefits, and Scania undertook driver familiarisation training to ensure drivers were comfortable with the dashboard controls. The capital cost of dedicated gas trucks was higher than for diesel, but they received part funding under the trial to offset some of this premium.

Results

Each vehicle has been driven over 200,000 km and during this time there have been no faults on the gas system or road calls. Howard Tenens’ team of drivers have been extremely positive about the performance of the vehicles with no loss of power or torque observed, and the engine delivers a much smoother driving experience compared to diesel.

75%
reduction in CO2 compared to an equivalent diesel truck
40%
cheaper than diesel on an equivalent energy basis

Results to date indicate that the fuel efficiency of the gas trucks is on average 23% less than diesel on an mpg equivalent basis. CNG is however 40% cheaper than diesel on an equivalent energy basis so this means that running costs are lower and this helps offset the increased capital cost of the vehicle.

When taking into account the benefits of biomethane, the CO2 reduction is impressive at 75% lower than that of an equivalent diesel truck. Howard Tenens made the decision in 2018 to purchase an additional two CNG rigids from Scania, which are more fuel efficient and have a greater range so will provide greater flexibility in how they can deploy the vehicles.

“The fact that we can achieve a 75% reduction in CO2 when operating on biomethane is the big selling point for these vehicles, as there are so few low carbon options available for HGVs at present. Given the performance of the vehicles and the CO2 savings, we believe that dedicated gas technology has an important role to play in decarbonising the freight sector in the UK. “

Ben Morris, Executive Director and Company Secretary