Ahead of the UK Biomethane and Gas Vehicle Conference, we asked our speakers for their opinions on biomethane as a transport fuel and the importance of the event. Here are some of their responses.
Over the last year we have seen strong growth in the use of road gas – and biomethane in particular – from both a logistics sector take-up and an infrastructure supply perspective. There are record numbers of new vehicle trials with growing fleet numbers driven by a logistics industry that now understands the environmental and cost benefits of gas fuel. We are also seeing government support through a range of separate initiatives and a growing public awareness of air quality issues.
But if we are to benefit from a long-term sustainable supply of liquefied biomethane for transport in this country we need a level subsidy regime playing field. Liquefied biomethane needs to be able to compete for sources of biogas at large landfill and anaerobic digestion sites which currently encourage supply to the power or heat markets. Therefore it is important that high profile national conferences like this bring into sharp focus the critical issues that still need to be resolved for the sector to reach the ‘tipping point’ where the take-up of road gas fuel becomes unstoppable.
Rob Wood, Chief Executive, Gasrec
Rob will be speaking in the panel session ‘Logistics and freight’ at 10:05
To achieve the targets that are enshrined in law to reduce carbon emissions from transport it is clear that we have to reduce the carbon intensity of fuel. As part of the Department for Transport Ministerial Task Force to reduce carbon emissions, natural gas has been identified as the best fuel to achieve this, particularly in heavy transport. Biomethane increases the benefit of this by a significant factor and whilst there is no “Silver Bullet” in the armoury of measures to reduce carbon emissions, in heavy transport, biomethane is the most promising of all low carbon fuels that are currently available and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.
Nick Blake, Head of Engineering, Mercedes-Benz UK Ltd
Nick will be speaking in the panel session ‘Vehicles and Infrastructure: What are the options?’ at 12:45.
Government recognises the benefits of biomethane and supports its use as a road fuel. We are funding a number of initiatives and we are evaluating its effectiveness in delivering carbon reductions.
Andrew Colski, Head of Freight Policy, DfT
Andrew will be speaking in the panel session ‘Logistics and freight’ at 9:55.
Through our corporate value of “respect for the environment” and to support the delivery of our 20 X 20 carbon reduction targets, Sainsbury’s is proud to be investing in gas vehicle technology. Around 10% of our fleet now has dual fuel capability and this is playing a significant part in enabling us to deliver our environmental objectives.
Mark Fletcher, Sustainability Manager – Logistics, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd
Mark will be speaking in the panel session ‘Logistics and freight’ at 9:55.
Sixty years ago we were talking about smokeless fuel as an alternative to coal-burning after thousands of people died prematurely from these harmful emissions. Diesel is the new coal and gas is the clean alternative. In sixty years from now how will the next generation be judging the decisions we make today? This Conference can help shape the decisions we take.
Gary Blenkinsop, Communities Manager, Environmental Health, Wakefield Council
Gary will be speaking in the panel session ‘Improving urban air quality’ at 11:45.
I am pleased that Northampton is hosting this important conference at a time when local authorities need to play their part in making greater use of clean and renewable fuels in their vehicle fleets as part of a wider commitment to the environment, so I look forward to what my own council and other councils can learn from the day.
Cllr David Mackintosh, Leader of Northampton Borough Council
Northampton Borough Council will be hosting the event and David will give a welcoming speech at 09:30.
Biomethane is delivering sustainable transport to the people of Reading, and a commercial cost-per-mile benefit to us as a vehicle operator. The vehicles are clean, smooth and quiet, and our passengers love them!
John Bickerton, Chief Engineer, Reading Buses
John will be speaking in the panel session ‘Improving urban air quality’ at 11:45.
When it comes to commercial vehicles biomethane provides the best environmental solution in terms of both carbon reduction and improved air quality. Biomethane is in addition the most cost effective solution to fleet operators of larger vehicles. This conference brings together the industry experience on how to implement its use and to provide strong commercial experience of its effectiveness as a valid and economic solution.
Colin Matthews, Managing Director, JouleVert
Colin will be speaking in the panel session ‘Driving the sector: Key barriers to tackle’ at 14:50.
Find out more
The UK Biomethane and Gas Vehicle Conference is free to attend for all local authorities. If you work in another sector, the ticket cost is £35 per ticket or £60 for two tickets. View the programme and register your place.