ROME, Feb 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A British
supermarket has become the first retailer in Europe to use a new
type of tank that keeps trucks motoring on fuel made from food
waste for 500 miles, almost twice the current average.
The longer driving range - capacity had held back earlier
green fuel options - could entice more business to turn to
low-emission lorries and thereby help fight global warming.
"We will be able to make deliveries to our stores without
having to refuel away from base," Justin Laney of the John Lewis
Partnership, which runs the Waitrose grocery chain, said in a
statement on Thursday.
Gas provider CNG Fuels said the upmarket grocery chain had
added 10 trucks to its fleet, all powered by renewable
biomethane gas, which emits 70 percent less carbon dioxide than
Transport accounts for about a quarter of Europe's
planet-warming emissions, which the European Union has pledged
to cut by 40 percent before 2030 under the 2015 Paris climate
Biomethane gas is made from food waste, which is also a
source of greenhouse gases.
The lorries, manufactured by Swedish truck maker Scania, can
run on the green fuel for 500 miles, 200 miles more than the
average, thanks to a carbon fibre tank that is lighter and holds
more gas, the companies said in a joint statement.
Biomethane trucks' low range was previously an issue for
many European hauliers and CNG Fuels CEO Philip Fjeld says they
are now more likely to switch from diesel to natural gas.
"Renewable biomethane is far cheaper and cleaner than
diesel, and, with a range of up to 500 miles, it is a
game-changer for road transport operators," he said.
Biomethane costs 40 percent less than diesel and fuel
savings are expected to cover the trucks' extra costs in two to
three years, according to the statement.
Developed by Scania and U.S. Agility Fuel Solutions, the
system is already used by about 50,000 trucks in the United
States. Fjeld said a handful of European companies had already
requested quotes from his company.
An estimated 88 million tonnes of food is wasted in EU
countries every year, costing about 143 billion euros ($153.61
billion), which activists say could feed the 55 million people
living in food poverty in Europe more than nine times over.
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay
Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the
charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian
news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate
change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)