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Waitrose Lorries Powered by Rotting Food

Waitrose green writing logo

Waitrose have launched a new fleet of lorries which will run entirely on biomethane, a bi-product of rotting food which is produced in landfills.

The lorries will emit 70% less CO2 than diesel vehicles, making them a great choice for the environment.

New truck partnership

The news comes as a result of a new partnership between Waitrose and CNG Fuels. They supply renewable biomethane fuel to their clients, and the fleet of new trucks has been made possible by their contribution.

The lorries will have impressive statistics as a result. The compressed natural gas, or CNG, will give them a range of 500 miles. This will mean that they can drive from Edinburgh all the way down to Dover before they need to refuel. They are also using the diesel alternative which has the lowest carbon output and is the most cost-effective for the user, at least when it comes to heavy goods vehicles or HGVs.

This will be a great boost for their logistics staff, cutting down costs whilst also reducing the company’s carbon footprint. The lorries are ten modified Scania trucks which use a 26-inch carbon fibre fuel tank to store the compressed gas at 250 bar of pressure. The fuel is 40% cheaper than diesel as well as the other benefits that it presents.

This could be the start of a great change in the UK, and the government are certainly keen to get things moving in that direction. They have announced intentions to start phasing out diesel cars in the UK, with a new scrappage scheme which could highlight biomethane as a viable alternative.

A great exchange

The lorries do cost around 50% more than their diesel equivalent, but this is an investment which will pay off quickly. Because of the cheaper fuel, they could offer between £15,000 to £20,000 in savings over the first couple of years of usage. This means that they will soon reach the same value, long before they are ready to be retired – and so the rest of their lifetime will offer savings on a yearly basis.

The vehicles are built in the US and are thought to have a longer lifespan than their counterparts by around 5 years, which means that they will also continue making those savings for longer and will need to be replaced less often. Over the course of the truck’s life, it is thought that they could generate savings of between £70,000 and £100,000, depending on the extent to which they are used.

Each lorry will also save an impressive 100 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to their diesel equivalent.

"Using biomethane will deliver significant environmental and operational benefits to our business,” said Justin Laney, the General Manager Central Transport for the John Lewis Partnership, of which Waitrose is a part. "It’s much cleaner and quieter than diesel, and we can run five gas trucks for the same emissions as one diesel lorry.”

Todd Sloan, Vice President Research and New Product Development at Agility Fuel Solutions, said: “We are seeing a shift to natural gas because it allows companies to control fuel costs, meet sustainability goals, and take care of drivers. CNG costs less than diesel and has lower tailpipe emissions. In addition, our high-capacity fuel tanks increase route efficiency and driver confidence. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

This could have interesting implications for the food and drink industry supply chain. If we can transport goods more cheaply, this could be an area in which savings can be passed on to customers without having to reduce the payment for manufacturers and suppliers.