LowCVP helps fleets tackle air pollution on Clean Air Day

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To coincide with National Clean Air Day, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) has published a Clean Vehicle Retrofit Technology Guide.

The guide highlights the role that the wide range of retrofit technologies can play in improving air quality by cleaning up the existing vehicle fleet.

As part of the UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations, DEFRA and DfT have defined the introduction of Clean Air Zones (CAZ) to discourage the use of older, more polluting vehicles in areas where air quality is worst.

To support business and vehicle operators in meeting the emissions standards, the Joint Air Quality Unit (a collaboration between DEFRA and DfT) commissioned the Energy Saving Trust and the LowCVP to produce a robust accreditation process for retrofit technologies; the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS).

The Clean Vehicle Technology Guide provides an in-depth explanation of the proven retrofit technology solutions and suppliers that have been approved under the CVRAS, demonstrating - over a robust and representative test cycle - that they can help existing vehicles achieve Euro 6/VI-equivalent emissions levels.

NOx abatement technologies such as Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and Euro VI engine repower can provide cost-effective alternatives to purchasing new CAZ or ULEZ-compliant vehicles.

Of course, retrofitting a fully electric drivetrain will also eliminate tailpipe emission, but these too, need to be accredited to ensure robust conversion standards.

The CVRAS standards have also been adopted by Transport Scotland and TfL, so that a vehicle with CVRAS-approved technology installed can enter the Low Emission Zones in Scotland, the CAZs across England and the ULEZ in London, without receiving a penalty charge.

The Clean Vehicle Retrofit Technology Guide also provides insight into the developing policy framework relating to air quality in the UK's towns and cities, as well as national and local funding schemes (such as the Clean Air Fund) designed to support vehicle operators and businesses in retrofitting their vehicles and avoid charges associated with entry to the various types of clean air zones.

Each technology chapter is supported with case studies and total cost of operation estimates for different technology types.

LowCVP’s managing director, Andy Eastlake, said: “Clean air is one of the most urgent challenges we face and retrofit solutions have been one of the key ’tools in the box‘ to help owners of existing vehicles meet the strengthening emissions requirements without completely replacing their fleet in one go.

“Twenty years ago the uptake of particulate traps was accelerated in this way and, today, NOx reduction technologies (mandated on all new vehicles) are now available to be retrofitted to a wide range of commercial vehicles.

“With funding support for both testing and purchase there is now another option for hard pressed operators to lead the way in clean vehicle uptake.”

Colin Smith, programme manager at Energy Saving Trust, added: “The Clean Air and Low Emission Zones aim to deter the most polluting vehicles from driving in zones with the worst air quality, but replacing all old vehicle with cleaner alternatives is no easy feat.

“The retrofitting of existing vehicles is a cost-effective solution to meeting Euro 6/VI emissions equivalence and achieving compliance with Clean Air Zone requirements.

“This new guide is a helpful resource for those wanting to learn more about retrofitting and the options available, complementing the CVRSA Register and accreditation well.

“The CVRAS Register is a useful free tool to identify which CVRAS-approved companies and emission reduction systems suit vehicles best, based on make, model and engine type to support companies’ efforts to improve their fleets, and lists the only retrofit options available that comply with the Clean Air Zones, Ultra Low Emission Zones, and Low Emission Zones.”

The Register is available at:

The CVRAS covers the following vehicle types: buses; coaches; trucks; refuse collection vehicles; black cabs. Van and passenger car processes have been established to allow options in these categories too.

The scheme is open to all retrofit technologies that can demonstrate Euro VI-equivalent emissions or better. Technologies currently approved under CVRAS are: 

Exhaust aftertreatment: Selective Catalytic Reduction

  • Diesel Euro VI System Repower
  • Battery Electric Repower
  • Repower and LPG Conversion

A digital download of the report is available here

With the radical reductions in tailpipe emission from all new vehicles sold (and now retrofits for the tailpipe of existing vehicles), focus is naturally moving to other sources of pollution from vehicle systems and ancillary loads operating in the ’real world’.

The LowCVP has also today published a separate, new report: Development of Emissions Testing Procedures for Transport Refrigeration Units (TRUs). This specialist project supported by Innovate UK, is an early step in plans to develop a robust, representative and cost-effective methodology for measuring the energy consumption and emissions performance of refrigerated commercial vehicles.

It says it will ultimately help to provide solutions to polluting and greenhouse gas emissions linked with the operation of transport refrigeration units in commercial vehicles, click here to download

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