Last year, VisionGreen Logistics Solutions Ltd became the first logistics company in Ireland to make carbon neutral retail deliveries with trucks fuelled by renewable gas in a partnership with Green Generation.
Also known as biomethane, renewable gas is produced sustainably from farm and food waste through a process known as anaerobic digestion. It is structurally identical to natural gas and is fully compatible with the existing gas network and Ireland’s growing fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
CNG involves the deployment of technologies which deliver gas that has been compressed to high pressures (over 200 bar). It is typically used as a transport fuel and is particularly suitable for use in commercial vehicles where electric solutions are not a viable option. The gas used can be either natural or renewable gas that meets the network specifications.
With a combined 40 years’ experience in retail, logistics and supply chain, VisionGreen’s co-founders, Ronan Murphy and John Pakenham, specialise in providing consultancy services to companies wishing to run their businesses more sustainably, achieving long-term corporate and social responsibility goals by reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact.
Adopting CNG trucks as part of that sustainability strategy is one choice VisionGreen has made for its own operations and one which it recommends to businesses across Ireland, as Gas Networks Ireland continues to roll out a network of CNG refuelling stations across the country, with two more set to open in the coming months.
Emitting less CO2 than diesel, natural gas is a proven, reliable and sustainable solution that can help fleet operators reduce their emissions and running costs at the same time. Furthermore, as the volume of renewable gas on the network gradually increases, CNG vehicles refuelling from the national gas network will increasingly reduce their carbon footprint without needing to change a thing.
“VisionGreen customers tend to be businesses that are conscious of their impact on the environment,” Mr Murphy said.
“The Irish retail sector has a large carbon footprint due to the extensive usage of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). From food production logistics and store deliveries to waste recovery, there are several points along the value chain where retailers can make significant improvements.
“Transport is the second largest emissions sector in Ireland, with HGVs being a large contributor to this. It is also one of the hardest sectors to decarbonise. CNG enables our clients to reduce emissions in their value-chains and meet some of their long-term sustainability goals, which is something we are really proud of.
“With corporate and social responsibility becoming more and more important for large companies, their customers and investors, being able to demonstrate positive impact on the environment is now an expectation for the consumer.
“From a business development perspective, being able to offer a lower-carbon transport solution is a strong differentiator for any business. It demonstrates a focus on sustainability when tendering for new business.”
The quietness of gas-powered trucks is a further advantage for retail businesses located in urban or high-populated areas where early morning deliveries need to be carried out with minimal disruption to the surrounding residents.
According to VisionGreen, it can also help raise employee satisfaction among drivers, which helps with long-term retention.
“From a people perspective the gas-powered vehicles are very popular with our drivers,” Mr Murphy said.
“When we look at the working environment for a truck driver, they will spend many hours in any given day in the cab of the truck. The gas-powered vehicles are quieter and smoother to drive. We have found many drivers are reluctant to go back to diesel from a gas-powered truck as a result of the overall experience and the better working environment.”
To learn more about the many benefits of CNG for fleet operators and hauliers and the future of renewable gas in transport, visit www.gasnetworks.ie/cng.
Grants up to €5,000
To help Ireland’s fleet operators and hauliers transition to cleaner, affordable CNG vehicles, Gas Networks Ireland has launched a CNG Vehicle Grant Scheme which provides grants of up to €5,000 for new CNG vehicles, up to maximum of €60,000 per business.
The CNG Vehicle Grant Scheme is co-financed by the European Union’s TEN-T Programme under the Connecting Europe Facility as part of the Green Connect Project. Applications are now being accepted at www.gasnetworks.ie/cngvehiclegrant.
The Department of Transport has also launched a €2m Alternatively Fuelled Heavy Duty Vehicle (AFHDV) Purchase Grant Scheme, which will cover between 40% and 60% of the price differential, with a maximum 20 vehicles or €500,000 available to any one applicant. Grants can be used towards the future purchase of more sustainable vehicles, including gas and electric vehicles.