Foresight Group has partnered with CNG Fuels to develop a network of refuelling stations in the UK, providing an initial £80 million (€89 million) in funding.
The stations will enable heavy-goods vehicles (HGVs) to run on carbon-neutral fuel.
CNG Fuels opened its fifth refuelling station near Birmingham last week, and the funding will see it develop at least 14 further public access stations on major routes over the next two years. This will quadruple the firm’s capacity and enable it to refuel 8,000 vehicles per day.
Additionally, CNG Fuels will make carbon-neutral fuel available from Glasgow to Bristol, meeting growing demand from major brands keen to switch their fleets away from diesel.
The company is a major UK supplier of bio-CNG, the lowest-carbon, most cost-effective alternative to diesel for HGVs. The fuel is 35-40% cheaper than diesel and cuts vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 85%.
Richard Morse, chairman of JLEN, Foresight Group’s listed environmental infrastructure fund, said: “We are pleased to make this investment into biomethane refuelling infrastructure, helping to decarbonise one of the most emission-intensive parts of the transport sector.
“We consider that the two pillars of better environmental performance and lower-cost operations for customers combine to support our investment case, and we look forward to supporting the growth of a national biomethane refuelling network.”
According to Baden Gowrie-Smith, chief financial officer at CNG Fuels, the company expects the number of CNG trucks on UK roads to double in 2021, as fleet operators take steps to support the government’s net-zero targets.
“This exciting partnership with Foresight demonstrates their enthusiasm for biomethane as a solution to decarbonise heavy-duty transport at scale,” said Gowrie-Smith, “and the near-term development of more stations will enable us to serve our customers even better by delivering carbon-neutral bio-CNG nationwide.
“We hope this will give even more brands the confidence to switch from diesel.”
CNG Fuels can already supply 2,000 vehicles per day from its five public access refuelling stations and a sixth station near Liverpool is due to open in January. Its newest station near Birmingham can refuel up to 500 HGVs per day and will support a virtual pipeline, using gas trailers to supply the John Lewis Partnership depot at Magna Park, near Milton Keynes.
The company has secured a pipeline of development sites on major trucking routes to serve fleet operators throughout the UK.