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TRL technology programme aims to cut HGV emissions

Patrick McDonnell
03 December 2018


A project exploring ways of developing zero emission heavy goods vehicles is being carried out by TRL. This project – due for completion by February 2019 - will underpin one of the main freight goals within the Government’s Road to Zero report, to significantly reduce carbon and air quality emissions from long-haul HGV movements by 2040.

TRL, the centre for innovation in transport and mobility, is aiming to identify and appraise the potential zero emission HGV technologies along with a range of stakeholder engagement exercises to develop a detailed understanding of the technology options available. 

This will result in criteria for the assessment of the technologies, which will be included in the strategic outline business case (SOBC). Alongside this, TRL will be undertaking a programme to identify recommended research and development activities, including full-scale demonstrators for the technologies emerging from the SOBC. The final project report will identify the activities required by external stakeholders.

A recorded 17.1 billion tonnes of cargo travels on Britain’s motorways and A roads every year, which contributes in major part to high levels of carbon oxides, nitrogen oxide and particulates, says TRL. Although the strategic road network (SRN) represents just 2% of all roads in England, it carries 66% of all HGVs and takes the majority impact of the growing demand for road cargo, says TRL, adding that as a proportion of total emissions, two-thirds are attributed to freight.

Gavin Bailey, technical and business development manager at TRL, says: “The study into zero emission HGV technologies will provide an essential first step toward a solution leading to a critical improvement in air quality as well as a significant movement towards the government’s Road to Zero goals.

“Our review and appraisal of existing technologies will include battery and hydrogen fuel cells and extend to include innovative solutions such as dynamic (in-motion) road charging techniques. Overall, the assessment will be framed with regards to the value for money to all relevant stakeholders, including infrastructure operators, freight operators, UK government, and UK Plc.”

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