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Scotland’s first 100% renewable biomethane vehicle refuelling station will open in 2021, enabling fleet operators to run their vehicles on low-carbon fuel, support net zero plans and ultimately save money. The company building it is CNG Fuels, the UK’s leading supplier of Bio-CNG.

Philip Fjeld is the CEO of CNG Fuels. He started working in the global gas industry as a commercial manager in 2002 and later became an entrepreneur. During that time, he became increasingly aware of the potential of biomethane as a fuel for trucks which resulted in the launch of CNG Fuels in 2014.

In this week’s Mobility Moment, Fjeld discusses the roll-out plans for bio-CNG stations.

What are the key benefits of renewable biomethane? 

Renewable biomethane is entirely mass-adoptable today. It is typically 35-45% cheaper than diesel and cuts emissions by 85%, making clear financial and environmental sense for hauliers.

For hauliers with near-term GHG emission reduction targets to meet from their long-haul HGV operation, biomethane is the only alternative that can be deployed at scale. Renewable biomethane also has the potential to be a negative GHG emission fuel from as soon as 2022 onwards, enabling operators to further slash emissions.

Describe the refuelling station in Scotland? 

Our newest station is the first public-access refuelling station in Scotland, capable of refuelling up to 450 trucks per day making it a huge enabler for Scottish fleets to move away from diesel and over to the greener alternative.

The station is located at Eurocentral, the largest distribution hub in Scotland, making it the perfect location for our first Scottish station.

How does a CNG station work? 

A gas connection is made to the high-pressure gas network. We have compressors on site that draw gas in from the gas main and compress the gas to between 250 and 275 bar.

The gas is then stored in ground storage ‘buffer’ modules. As vehicles come into refuel, a dispenser nozzle is attached to the vehicle and gas will flow from the buffer modules into the vehicle.

Typically, over ten vehicles can be refuelled before the buffer modules need to be refilled by the compressors. The station operates on an unmanned basis, we only attend sites when maintenance is required. 

What are your roll-out plans? 

We are busy developing a nationwide network of bio-CNG stations, and we’re really looking forward to announcing a number of new stations later this year. We are working towards a rollout rate that will see one new public access station open every 4-6 weeks. 

What role can renewable biomethane play in helping the UK achieve Net Zero emissions? 

Achieving net zero is a very daunting task, particularly for the heavy transportation sector which is especially difficult to decarbonise. Due to the cumulative effect of GHG emissions in the atmosphere, achieving GHG emission reductions in the near term will have a far greater effect than reducing GHG emissions in 10 or 20 years from now.

Biomethane is the only mass-adoptable fuel that can decarbonise long-haul HGVs in the short term, making it a fundamental fuel on the road toward net zero GHG emissions in the UK. 

What will long-distance transport/logistics look like by 2030? 

By 2030 we expect the long-haul HGV sector to consist of a mix of diesel and biomethane HGVs. Of course, we expect to see some electric or hydrogen trucks on the roads by then, but we predict that diesel and biomethane will still be the only mass-adoptable vehicle technologies in 2030.

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