South London organic waste treatment company Bio Collectors is running seven vehicles on compressed natural gas (CNG) in order to comply with the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
The ULEZ, which comes into force from today (8 April), sees the introduction of charges for some vehicles of between £12.50 and £100 to enter central London, based on emissions standards. The ULEZ will expand to a wider area from late 2021.
In order to avoid paying a charge for vehicles on its food waste collection service, Bio Collectors has taken delivery of seven CNG-fuelled food collection vehicles that will replace trucks in its 25-strong fleet.
The company says it favoured CNG over fully-electric vehicles due to the length of time needed to refuel and the payload of the gas vehicles.
Bio Collectors is using a range of gas powered vehicles in its fleet, including an Iveco Eurocargo truck, fitted with a Macpac chassis, as well as a combination of Iveco Daily vans fitted with Farrid Micro ‘L’ tipping bodies. All the vehicles have been modified from standard to run on CNG.
Gas for the vehicles will be sourced from the company’s 100,000 tonnes-per-year capacity anaerobic digestion plant in Mitcham, South London, which is capable of generating the equivalent of 6mW of gas and 1.7mW of electricity every hour.
The by-products of the organic waste treatment process already power the plant and on-site offices, as well as feeding fuel into the national grid.
Commenting on the new vehicles, managing director of Bio Collectors, Paul Killoughery, said: “Our biogas-powered vehicles will play their part in lowering emissions in London without the added implication of having to generate electricity, which may not be so clean.
“By fuelling them with the food waste we collect, we can ensure that all our services are ready for the environmental challenges of the future. Bio Collectors is closing the waste loop in London and turning food waste into a valuable and sustainable fuel.”
The ULEZ has been introduced by City Hall in a bid to encourage a shift towards less polluting vehicles in the capital, in order to improve the city’s air quality, which has breached legal limits for a number of years.
Despite many businesses opting for electric vehicles, Bio Collectors said that its research showed that CNG would be the most viable option for its operations.
Mr Killoughery added: “We did look at electric vehicles, as their exemption from the congestion charge and road fuel tax would make them the logical choice – CNG trucks are liable for both.
“But electric vehicles are not available at the payloads we require and would take all night to recharge, making them impractical and logistically impossible due to the significant space needed for separate charging stations for 25 vehicles. Alternatively, a CNG pump can refill a truck as quickly as on a traditional forecourt.”