A new biomethane refuelling station for heavy goods vehicles is being built in Aylesford, Kent.
Green infrastructure company ReFuels says the site will be capable of fuelling more than 500 trucks per day and saving almost 60,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, making low carbon logistics “a reality for dozens of fleets in Southeast England”.
The news comes days after the UK Government published its biomass strategy which backed biomethane as an attractive fuel for HGVs and other harder to decarbonise fleets which may be more challenging to electrify.
Philip Fjeld, CEO of ReFuels, said: “Bio-CNG is the only fuel available today that can decarbonise the UK’s HGV fleet at the scale and pace required to meet net zero. Well over one hundred fleets across the UK are now adopting the fuel en masse and our new site in Aylesford, built on land acquired from the John Lewis Partnership, is a testament to this growing demand and the value fleet operators place on the enabling refuelling infrastructure.”
ReFuels points out HGVs account for 4.2% of UK carbon emissions, making the sector a key component of the UK’s goal to achieve net zero by 2050. Renewable biomethane – derived from food waste and manure by ReFuels – is the lowest carbon, most cost-effective alternative fuel to diesel available to HGVs today, cutting emissions by over 90% whilst providing up to a 40% lifetime fuel cost saving.
The station in Aylesford is a joint venture between CNG Fuels, the infrastructure arm of ReFuels, and Foresight Group, a sustainability-led investment management company.
Serving major UK trunk routes including the M20 and M2, the site is being built on land acquired by ReFuels from the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) adjacent to Waitrose’s southeast distribution centre. ReFuels says this enables the retailer to rapidly grow its fleet of biomethane-powered HGVs, which is already the largest such fleet in the UK.
Justin Laney, General Manager – Fleet at John Lewis Partnership, said: “John Lewis Partnership took delivery of its first dedicated CNG trucks in 2015 and now operates 400 CNG trucks, which is the largest biomethane-powered truck fleet in the UK. We are delighted that CNG Fuels has started construction of a high-capacity Bio-CNG station in Aylesford, where Waitrose has its southeast distribution centre. John Lewis Partnership is committed to all of its 520 heavy-duty trucks running on biomethane by 2028, and the Bio-CNG station in Aylesford is another important step towards realising this goal.”
The new site – featuring 12 fuel pumps capable of delivering 19 million kilograms (kg) of Bio-CNG annually – will add to the company’s existing network of 12 refuelling stations across the UK. In total, this network can refuel more than 6,000 HGVs daily, saving more than 750,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions compared to diesel.
By 2026, the company aims to have 30-40 stations in operation with a total capacity of up to 15,000 HGVs refuelling per day and more than 600 million kg of biomethane dispensed annually, equivalent to cutting UK HGV CO2 emissions by eight per cent.
Demand for Bio-CNG from fleet operators is growing rapidly. In July alone, 3,799 tonnes of Bio-CNG was dispensed across CNG Fuels’ stations, equivalent to an 80% increase compared to the same period last year. In addition to John Lewis Partnership, ReFuels supports over 80 other major fleets switching to Bio-CNG including Aldi, Amazon, DHL, Lidl, Royal Mail, and Warburton’s.
ReFuels has one other station under construction in Bangor, North Wales, which is due to start operations in the next month. At least two further stations are expected to commence construction this calendar year.
In May 2023, CNG Fuels acquired Renewable Transport Fuel Services Limited (RTFS), the largest renewable biomethane sourcing company for UK transport, and established a new holding company – ReFuels (https://refuels.com) – to create one of Europe’s largest fully integrated renewable biomethane suppliers for heavy transport. In May 2023, ReFuels was publicly listed on the Euronext Growth Oslo exchange.
(Picture – ReFuels)