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Improving our environmental footprint with LNG

As one of the world’s fastest-growing clean energy sources, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), could be a way for the logistics industry to help to save the planet – one HGV at a time.

We interview some of our team on what it’s like using an LNG-powered truck

As the first pallet network to trial an LNG truck, we thought we’d ask our Operations Manager, one of our drivers, and an Account Manager at Volvo for an insider’s scoop on what could be a landmark moment in Pall-Ex’s, and indeed the world’s, efforts to go green.

What is LNG and how is it used as fuel?

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is one of the world's fastest growing energy sources. It's the cleanest burning fossil fuel and the gas can be found in underground reservoirs all over the world.

LNG is found in the form of gas and is mostly comprised of methane, with small amounts of ethane, propane, butane and non-combustibles. In order to use the gas for fuel, the impurities are removed and the gas purified, leaving methane, ethane and propane to be used as fuel.

The purified gas is cooled down to -161 degrees Celsius, changing the property of the gas to a liquid, which is then transported, stored and used as fuel.

Will eco-friendly and sustainable fuels have an impact on the customer’s experience?

Operations Manager at Pall-Ex, Paul Pegg, responds, “An important part of this move towards low emissions vehicles is ensuring that the driving experience and performance do not suffer as a result of the alternative fuel source.”

Account Manager at Volvo, Darren Newman, says, “Sustainability needn’t bring additional cost or complication to heavy transport operations, quite the contrary in fact. The Volvo LNG solution offers uncompromised performance as it drives exactly like a diesel engine vehicle.”

Are there any user differences between driving a standard HGV/LGV compared to one run on LNG?

Pall-Ex driver, Mahesh Patel, responds, “I’ve been with Pall-Ex for four years and was excited to get the opportunity to try this out. The performance is virtually the same as the traditional diesel trucks I’m used to, and the fact it is environmentally friendly is a big positive.

“I liked the LNG truck, although it was a little slower than the standard diesel model, it’s best to drive it more steadily for better fuel economy anyway.”

What has been the reason for choosing an LNG-powered truck, as opposed to say, an electric one?

Paul notes, “Electric lorries are currently not an option for many logistics companies. The battery technology limits driving distance, causing too many delays in a world where consumers expect the fastest possible delivery."

Darren says, “Pallet transport has always been an extremely competitive sector and the Volvo LNG trial recently conducted with Pall-Ex proved it is possible to improve efficiency and sustainability with Volvo’s LNG technology.”

Will using LNG-powered engines save money, too?

Paul has noticed a positive change, “Since we started using the vehicle, we have saved hundreds of pounds every week with just this one vehicle. We are due to meet with our vehicle supplier, MRS and Volvo to discuss the opportunities for the future, which is exciting.”

Darren responds, “20% less carbon and 30% lower fuel costs are possible with our unique compression ignition LNG engines, and LNG attracts a £0.40p per litre reduction in fuel duty relative to diesel. Using compression ignition with LNG delivers carbon and costs savings without compromising engine performance – fundamental qualities when operating in an integrated pallet network.”

What else have you learnt from the LNG trial?

Mahesh notes, “All drivers need to drive as economically as possible to save fuel, money and to reduce emissions and this new kind of power is another tool to help us reduce our emissions.”

Paul comments, “We are learning and gaining as much as possible from the trial. This truck is a new opportunity that can benefit our operation and the environment, so we are very keen to understand how it can fit our model, so we can utilise it within the Pall-Ex network.”

Join our ever-growing team of Pall-Ex members, in Europe’s leading palletised freight network, as we drive forwards into the future of sustainable and eco-friendly fuels. If you have a passion for quality and innovation, get in touch with our team, or read more about becoming a member.