BWG Foods announced a significant €2 million expansion to its low-carbon delivery fleet today, through the addition of ten new biomethane-powered HGVs (heavy goods vehicles), adding to its existing fleet of two biogas trucks, which were originally launched in 2020.
The trucks were part of a company programme to test low-carbon technologies across the business’s distribution operations.
The success of that trial programme resulted in BWG Foods – owner and operator of the Spar, Eurospar, Londis, Mace and XL brands – taking delivery of ten new biogas HGV trucks, which will be on the road before the end of the year.
Plans are already in place to add additional low-carbon vehicles in the near future, as the group pushes to significantly reduce carbon emissions across its distribution operation.
Fuelled With Biomethane
The new HGV trucks are fuelled with biomethane, in place of traditional diesel fuel, with the biogas being produced through the natural breakdown of food and sewage waste.
BWG Foods contributes non-consumable food waste from its distribution operations, including its 240,000-square-foot national distribution centre in Dublin, to produce fuel for its new biogas vehicles at Green Generation’s biogas production site, in Nurney, Co. Kildare.
This a circular solution that, BWG Foods notes, is unique in Ireland.
The new, rigid biofuelled 26-tonne trucks with electric fridge units each cost more than €180,000 and mark the expansion of an existing partnership between BWG Foods and Green Generation, ‘representing the most significant development in terms of green transport in Ireland to date.’
This initiative is supported by Gas Networks Ireland, through the provision of linked infrastructure.
Reducing Carbon Intensity
“We’re on a clear mission to significantly reduce the carbon intensity of BWG’s distribution operation, which is one of the very largest in the country, distributing over 25 million outbound cases per year,” said Simon Marriott, chief operations officer, BWG Foods.
“We very much see biogas as being a key solution for reducing transport-related emissions, in conjunction with electric vehicles, as technology develops for larger vehicles, and we are committed to investing significantly in continuing to grow our environmentally friendly distribution fleet over the coming years.”
Biogas has been designated as one of the future fuels of choice by the Irish government, with greater investment and incentives planned to facilitate the increased production of biogas in Ireland.
BWG Foods has also earmarked biogas as its fuel of choice for the future, as part of its own sustainable transition.
“We’re delighted to be working with BWG Foods on this initiative, and we look forward to serving their biogas fuel needs into the future,” said Billy Costello of Green Generation.
“The average BWG delivery truck covers 100,000 kilometres per year, meaning that the 90% reduction in transport-related carbon emissions achieved through switching to biogas vehicles will save approximately 70 tonnes of carbon emission per vehicle, per year.
“This equates to 840 tonnes per annum when accounting for the full fleet of 12 biofuelled trucks.
“If taking the alternative carbon-capture route, BWG Foods would have to plant approximately 46,000 trees to achieve the same environmental impact.”
BWG also operates 18 CNG-powered trucks, with the ambition to migrate these to full biogas as soon as supply is available.
CNG (compressed natural gas) trucks deliver 20% CO2 savings against conventional diesel-powered trucks and are biogas enabled.
Last year, BWG Foods also invested in a new Fronius battery-charging system for its extensive mechanical-handling fleet (forklifts, pallet trucks, etc.), which reduced its electrical output, thus reducing carbon emissions by 170 tonnes per annum.
It also invested €500,000 in a new fleet of energy-efficient mechanical-handling technology.
BWG Foods’ award-winning logistics division is among the largest in the country, supplying over 1,000 stores nationwide, which together serve over one million people per day, along with a further 14,000 additional business customers across the retail, foodservice and licensed sectors.
The group participates in the Freight Transport Association’s TruckSafe programme, which audits, reviews and documents fuel efficiencies within the commercial sector, providing data that identifies fuel reduction opportunities and tracks results.