Written evidence submitted by Mr Colin Matthews (RDF0011)

My name is Colin MatthewsI am the Managing Director of JouleVert Limited, an independent consultancy specialising in low carbon vehicles and fuels, with a particular emphasis on larger commercial vehicles. Prior to this, from 2000 – 2007, I ran the Transport Grants programmes for the Energy Savings Trust, and thus have more than 20 years of experience in this field.

There is a current golden opportunity to start the decarbonisation of the heavy truck fleet within the UK. There are some 460,000 HGV trucks in the UK that contribute 18% of carbon emissions from road transport.

The cessation of the sale of ICE cars and vans by 2030 will mean that as diesel demand drops, the demand for biodiesel will follow suit.  This will result in an excess of supply over demand, for the three UK biodiesel manufacturers, unless higher blend biodiesel fuels grow in market share. This surplus could very easily be formulated into a B30 biodiesel fuel (containing 30% biodiesel) identical in its specification and characteristics to the standard EN590 B7 diesel that is currently sold (7% biodiesel).  In meeting the EN590 specification, HGVs would not need to be adapted in order to use this B30.

The HGV refuelling network is separate and segregated from the retail car and van network as they have larger nozzles and separate access to accommodate for the larger size of vehicle. In addition, many HGV fleets have return-to-base refuelling, which is also segregated. Therefore it would be straight forward to supply a B30 HGV specification fuel, with little impact on the rest of the refuelling network.

Back in 2008 I worked with Harvest Energy and Morrisons supermarkets to introduce this same fuel into the retail market specifically for vans. It was taken up by Sky TV and BT fleets, and approved for use by the PSA group (now Stellantis) and Renault/Vauxhall for use in their vans. PSA confirmed that if they hadn’t done a FAME test on the product, they would have not been able to see any discernible difference between the B30 and the normal B5 diesel sold at that time.  It was also approved by a number of major truck manufacturers. We included specific pour point depressants (to prevent the fuel thickening in winter) and specific anti-oxidants to prevent degradation during storage to ensure there would be no usage issues.

I am working with organisations like the Renewable Transport Fuel Association and DfT’s freight team to look at how this product could be implemented to deliver a 25% carbon reduction across the HGV fleet which could be delivered by 2030 and make a major contribution towards meeting the Governments fourth and fifth carbon budgets .  Carbon reductions made sooner are more beneficial, as emissions remain in the atmosphere for many decades.  This decarbonisation could be achieved rapidly, whilst the more advanced HGV solutions required for the 2040 phasing out of the sale of non-zero tailpipe HGVs are being developed.

I would be happy to appear to the Committee to give oral evidence on this product should it be so desired.


November 2021