Vans will go electric and lorries will run on hydrogen dual-fuel under a £20 million Government programme to cut emissions and improve air quality, transport minister John Hayes announced yesterday.
The funding, announced at the Delivering Sustainable Road Transport to 2030 and Beyond conference, in central London, is being given to 20 firms who set out plans for innovative ways to deploy low and zero emission vehicles.
The freight industry accounts for about 30% of the UK’s CO2 transport emissions and the money will help fleets get their new vehicles on the roads from mid-2017 onwards.
Hayes said: “Each one of these successful projects will help cut vehicle emissions, improving air quality and reducing pollution in towns and cities.
“This is yet another important step towards this Government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions from transport to help tackle climate change.
“We are already making headway through our investment in low emission vehicles, greener public transport and walking and cycling, as well as grants for innovative advanced biofuels projects.”
The funding is being delivered by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK.
The aim of the competition is to demonstrate new technologies and to encourage the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets.
Simon Edmonds, manufacturing and materials director of Innovate UK, said: "These 20 projects around the UK will spearhead the uptake of the next generation of innovative low emission freight and fleet vehicles.
“The impact will benefit the environment, particularly in our big cities.
“It builds on the results of previous low carbon projects with OLEV, and the data collected from this new trial will be invaluable to future development and commercialisation of these vital technologies.”
The programme will help the UK meet its CO2 reduction targets – and represents another step towards the Government’s target for all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2040.
There were more than 40 applications for the scheme – and the winners include a scheme to increase battery range for electric vehicles.
A partnership led by ULEMco from Liverpool will receive £1.31m to carry out trials using innovative hydrogen dual-fuel technology, and UPS will get £1.33m to invest in smart charging of its electric vans which run in central London.
ENN Clean Energy UK Limited receives the largest amount of funding - £2.57m – for its project trialling biogas in 86 lorries ranging from 26 tonnes to 44 tonnes. In addition, five refrigeration units will use a prototype liquid nitrogen system.
The Renewable Energy Association, which hosted Delivering Sustainable Road Transport to 2030 and Beyond conference welcomed the announcement.
Nina Skorupska, chief executive at the Renewable Energy Association, said: “This funding is an excellent step towards supporting the widespread uptake of low carbon vehicles and encouraging continued technological innovation.
"In his speech and in this announcement, the Minister clearly communicated that there is a role for a full range of new technologies in decarbonising the vehicle fleet, including hydrogen, biofuels, green gas derived from wastes, and batteries.
“An excellent next step would be to support greater integration of biofuels into the transport energy mix.
"This would help the UK meet its short and medium term milestones for carbon reduction and would be a great win for the climate.”