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Ocado launches investment in alternative fuels 08 January 2019

Industry-leading 20% of HGV fleet now powered by blended biomethane

Ocado has opened its first natural gas refuelling station at its Hatfield, UK, Customer Fulfilment Centre. Ocado is the first UK retailer to self-fund the purchase of an onsite grid connected station outright. The site launched with 29 Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) powered by blended biomethane, a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Replacing existing diesel vehicles, this represents 20.0% of the online retailer’s HGV fleet, an industry-leading figure.

Environmental benefits of switching to gas include 99.0% fewer particulate emissions and 70.0% less nitrogen oxide than the latest diesel standard. The trucks are on average 50.0% quieter than diesel vehicles, so are kinder to residential areas. The new vehicles will reduce the Ocado HGV fleet CO2 emissions by 29.0% annually.

Ocado’s gas refuelling station has been designed and built by Gasrec, a major fuel supplier for natural gas-powered HGVs on UK roads. The businesses have agreed a 10-year support and maintenance contract, with Ocado also announcing plans to invest in natural gas technology at future sites.

The investment in natural gas is part of Ocado’s wider strategy to explore and invest in carbon-friendly alternatives to diesel fuel. The retailer is also testing electric and hybrid delivery vehicles.

By investing in gas-powered vehicles, and in its first onsite refuelling station, Ocado is future-proofing its fleet. Emissions from CNG are cleaner than Euro VI standards which start to take effect with the London Low Emissions Zone from April, and will soon be followed by a further 32 Clean Air Zones.

In 2018, the UK Government launched its Road to Zero strategy. Part of this strategy included a 2025 target for HGVs to reduce GHG emissions by 15.0%, against a 2015 baseline. Natural gas is an important step in achieving this and Ocado are at the forefront of adopting the technology.

While other shared-service gas refuelling stations exist in the UK, Ocado’s Hatfield station is the first onsite facility purchased by a business upfront. This demonstrates the retailer’s commitment to investing in their long-term environmental strategy. The facility has been designed to accommodate 80 vehicles in total, and the business plans to increase the fleet to 40 vehicles in 2019.