DPD Ireland switches truck fleet to 100% HVO biofuel to reduce carbon emissions


DPD Ireland has deployed environmentally-friendly Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) as a replacement fuel for diesel in its truck fleet as part of an ambitious drive to decarbonise its Irish fleet by 2030. 

The parcel-delivery firm is leading the charge towards sustainable deliveries, having achieved the milestone of 1 million sustainable deliveries in August of this year. The company is in the process of switching all its domestic line haul routes to 100% HVO in a bid to slash its line haul emissions by 87% (vs 2020). These line haul routes carry parcels between DPD Ireland’s central sorting hub in Athlone and its 35 depots on the island of Ireland. This follows a successful trial of the biofuel which ran from June to September 2022.

Powering all domestic line haul routes with this sustainable biofuel, DPD expects to reduce its emissions by over 4,350 tons CO2e per year versus a conventional diesel operation. This is the equivalent of taking 937 cars off the road for a year. This is a big win for DPD’s customers, who place a higher emphasis than ever on reducing emissions.

HVO is not available yet at commercial pumps, which is why DPD Ireland is installing dedicated HVO storage tanks on site at its central sorting hub in Athlone. Once complete, the company will be able to supply 100% of its domestic line haul routes on renewable HVO.

DPD Ireland Chief Executive Des Travers said the company began looking at alternative fuel options for its line haul fleet after difficulty sourcing electric heavy goods vehicles.

“We’ve had HVO on our radar for several years. It has become imperative for our business to reduce our emissions which is why we are taking action. We are on a journey to become the most sustainable parcel delivery company in Ireland and this is just the next step for us. We will continue to overcome the challenges as we 100% decarbonise our business”.

He continued, “At full capacity, the company will be avoiding 16 tons of CO2 equivalent per day versus a fully diesel operation. This is due to the reduced well-to-wheel emissions that HVO offers.”

The company is currently delivering more than 4,000 parcels per day by electric van, and expects delivery of 205 new all-electric Ford eTransits, more than double the target amount announced last year. This will bring the electric fleet to 258, nearly 20% of its total fleet, by mid-2023.

Mr. Travers said the switch to lower carbon fuels is one of the actions DPD Ireland is taking to decarbonise its Irish fleet by 2030.

Unlike electric vans where you need to purchase a new van, HVO is seamless in that it can be used as a drop-in replacement for diesel in the transition to low-carbon fuel alternatives. The vehicle or engine does not need to be replaced, which is very inviting for companies looking to change their fleet to more sustainable means.

James Atkinson, Sustainability Programme Manager emphasised the importance of tracking. He said, “In order to validate our emissions savings, we are using a smart pump system. The HVO dispensed at the pump is automatically recorded to track our total usage. The vehicles’ odometer is tracked when the fuel is dispensed, and a digital record is kept that correlates fuel used with kilometres driven. By tracking the vehicle type, we can more accurately calculate the emissions avoided. This is a step up in our emissions tracking and enables better reporting.”

DPD Ireland last year announced a further €2 million investment to decarbonise its Irish fleet with the addition of 100 new electric vehicles by the end of 2022.

The company has already invested €3.2 million since 2019 in electric vans and infrastructure.

DPD Ireland is part of the DPD Group, the second largest international parcel delivery network in Europe. The group delivers 7.5 million parcels each day – 1.9 billion parcels per year.

Picture caption: DPD Ireland has deployed HVO as a replacement fuel for diesel in its heavy goods vehicles as part of an ambitious drive to decarbonise its Irish fleet by 2030. Pictured at DPD Ireland headquarters in Athlone are Colin Kennedy, Chief Information Officer and Darragh Lowry, Head of Transport for DPD Ireland