Stobart Group and BOC have been selected by the Government to receive funding to stimulate the market for more environmentally-friendly dual-fuel trucks.

Stobart Group’s transport and distribution division Eddie Stobart has been testing a small fleet of Volvo dual-fuel vehicles with selected clients, where Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) replaces up to 90% of the diesel fuel used to drive the engine. The award-winning programme uses standard Volvo engines, mated with a specialist dual-fuel management system and in the event that the system runs out of LNG, the engine switches automatically to normal diesel mode.

Despite the environmental benefits that this new technology offers, Eddie Stobart’s ability to increase the vehicle fleet requires considerable investment, not only in the vehicles themselves, but also in the specialist LNG refueling facilities, of which only a small number exist in the UK at present. This significantly limits the range offered by dual-fuel vehicles and therefore the potential carbon saving benefits.

The funding provided by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will be matched by an investment from Eddie Stobart. This will enable its fleet of Volvo dual-fuel tractor units to be increased and allow BOC, the UK’s largest provider of compressed and liquefied gas, to install an LNG refueling station at one of Eddie Stobart’s regional hubs – with access available to other dual-fuel vehicle operators.

The trial aims to determine the ability of the vehicles to achieve up to 90% substitution of diesel by LNG, reduce carbon emissions by up to 25%, and avoid the potential loss of gas vented from conventional systems during refueling. The robust testing of the vehicle and refueling technologies in the field, as an integrated part of a larger vehicle fleet, will enable further refinement of the technology and provide significant opportunities to help drive sustainability in the logistics sector.

Intermodality supported Stobart Group with the successful TSB grant application and will now be managing the 3-year project on behalf of Stobart and BOC.