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Coca-Cola Enterprises releases biomethane vehicle trial report; buys 14 gas trucks to run on biomethane based on results

Well-to-wheel emissions for gas and diesel trucks over the CCE drive cycle. Source: Cenex report. Click to enlarge.

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) in the UK has released a report on the trial of a heavy-duty truck operating solely on biomethane gas.

The report showed the gas vehicle provided similar drive performance and reliability levels to incumbent diesel technologies in fleets. When operating on biomethane, well-to-wheel emissions of CO2 were significantly reduced. Gas vehicle operation also reduced emissions of NOx, PM and noise. The report also found that challenges in terms of ownership cost still need to be overcome. On conclusion of the trial, CCE invested in a fleet of 14 gas Iveco Stralis vehicles and a gas station which is due to be operational at its Enfield depot in June 2012.

The new CCE gas fleet will consume approximately 168 tonnes of biomethane saving more than 300 tonnes of CO2, 1,590 kg of NOx and 33 kg of PM emissions per year.

CCE contracted Cenex to evaluate and compare the emissions, fuel consumption, economics, reliability and operability of a 26-tonne Iveco Stralis gas vehicle with that of a diesel Stralis vehicle. The trial vehicles—one operating solely on biomethane gas, and one diesel-powered—were highly comparable. Both were new registrations at trial commencement and met Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle emission standards (emission levels between the current Euro V standard and the future (2013) Euro VI levels).

The gas vehicle had a small payload penalty of 700 kg due to the additional weight of the fuel tanks. The gas vehicle was supplied with a fully automatic gearbox whereas the diesel vehicle incorporated an automated manual transmission.

  Iveco Stralis CNG (biomethane) Iveco Stralis Diesel
GVW 26 tonnes 26 tonnes
Max. payload 18.2 tonnes 18.9 tonnes
Engine capacity 7.79 L 7.79 L
Engine power 272 PS 310 PS
Emissions aftertreatment 3-way catalyst system SCR catalyst system
Emissions rating EEV EEV
Gearbox 6-speed automatic 12-speed automated manual
Fuel tank capacity 880 liters @ 200 bar 300 liters

Biomethane is the term given to biogas that has been upgraded (i.e. unwanted gases and contaminants have been removed) to vehicle fuel quality which typically has a high > 95% methane (CH4) content. Biogas is created from the anaerobic digestion of organic matter and contains approximately 60% CH4 and 40% carbon dioxide (CO2), plus very small quantities of oxygen (O2), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen (N2).

The amount of CO2 produced by combusting biomethane is similar to the amount of CO2 absorbed by the organic matter during its growth. The release of this CO2 is part of a sustainable carbon cycle—hence, biomethane is a renewable fuel. The UK is one of the largest producers of biogas from landfill sites in Europe.

A temporary gas vehicle refueling infrastructure was installed at the CCE depot in Enfield, UK from which the trial vehicles were operated. Vehicle activity data from the Enfield depot was logged via onboard telemetry. The CCE drive cycle was a 30-minute, 19.5 km cycle statistically representative of vehicle distribution patterns from Enfield. Testing vehicles over the CCE drive cycle in an emissions testing facility allowed air quality performance as well as tailpipe CO2 and fuel consumption to be measured in a controlled and repeatable environment.

Among the findings of the study were:

  • Biomethane gas vehicle operation reduced NOx and PM emissions by 85.6% and 97.1% respectively.

  • The gas vehicle achieved a 50.3% saving in well-to-wheel GHG emissions, compared to the diesel Stralis vehicle. However, this was achieved using a temporary filling station—a more efficient permanent station being installed at the CCE depot raises the GHG saving to 60.7%.

  • The gas truck consumed 34.9 kg/100 km compared to the diesel truck that consumed 31.9 liters/100 km (7.4 mpg US) over the CCE drive cycle. This equated to a theoretical vehicle range of 357 km and 940 km (222 and 584 miles) for the gas and diesel trucks respectively.

  • The overall reduction in efficiency from the diesel to gas vehicle over the CCE drive cycle was 31.8%.

  • The gas vehicle achieved an availability rate of 99.2% during the 12 month vehicle trail compared to an availability rate of 100% for the diesel vehicle.

  • Gas vehicle operation reduced noise levels by 4.1 dB(A), 10.5 dB(A), and 8.1 dB(A) during low speed drive-by, engine idle and hot engine start conditions respectively.

  • Drivers rated the overall performance of the gas vehicle higher than the diesel. Drivers were most impressed with the gas trucks acceleration, transmission and refueling aspects.

  • Operating the gas vehicle on biomethane reduced the fuel costs by 12.8%. However, the total cost of ownership increased by 15.3% primarily due to the additional capital cost of the gas vehicle. Estimated future cost reductions between the vehicle technologies coupled with a further reduction in gas price due to either a higher volume supply or the use of a public gas refueling station would achieve a similar total cost of ownership between the two vehicle technologies.




The low efficiency of the gas drivetrain is disappointing, but the torque converter in the automatic transmission might account for the responsiveness reported by the drivers.  This suggests that something like a dual-clutch transmission with close gear ratios could make up much of the difference.

Henry Gibson

Use electric vehicles and sodium-nickel-chloride batteries and buy only nuclear power from France; then you will have low carbon. The fossil energy that went into producing the products that are decomposing into methane is not even considered in this evaluation. These products were likely just excessive consumption and then waste such as paper bags etc. Come to think of it soft drinks may be excessive consumption. ..HG..


"using gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology to convert natural gas to products known as "middle distillates" for use as diesel and jet fuels. GTL synthetic fuels would not only serve the trucking industry and diesel automobiles, they would also serve the commercial aviation industry—a very important advantage and something CNG can't do. GTL fuels do not require costly changes to engines or fuels distribution infrastructure. No tax credits, enabling legislation or other government involvement is required."


"As such, the word is Shell is going to build a new GTL facility, on par with the size of Pearl, in America ... to take advantage of the more localized demand.

...the word is within three to six months, Shell expects to announce a decision on a site somewhere on the Gulf Coast.

...Louisiana, with its plentiful supplies of “dry gas” coming out of the Haynesville Shale and its world-class natural gas infrastructure, could very well win out as the domicile for the facility.

Within 18 months of the site selection Shell expects to finalize its construction plans, it’s expected that four years later a GTL facility which employs some 10,000-12,000 permanent workers will go on line."


"Chesapeake Energy Corporation has announced an investment plan to create a natural gas fuelled highway system across America and effectively reduce American dependence on OPEC and imported fuel whilst creating American jobs and boosting the economy.

Chesapeake is creating a US$ 1 billion venture capital fund, Chesapeake NG Ventures Corporation (CNGV), dedicated to identifying and investing in companies and technologies that will replace the use of gasoline and diesel derived primarily from OPEC oil with domestic oil, natural gas and natural gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuels."


"There is an economic incentive for gas-to-liquids conversion when there is a meaningful price difference between natural gas and crude oil. This is best illustrated with an example:"


"We think GTL technology could make a lot of sense in North America. It would further reduce the need for imported oil while deriving greater value from this region’s natural gas resources."


“For the first time ever, there is a real possibility you will see GTL in the United States,"

I guess the industry experts did not consult with some here.


(Reuters) - South African petrochemicals group Sasol Ltd (SOLJ.J) sees opportunities to buy cheap natural gas assets in North America that would help boost its output of chemicals and synthetic fuels, a senior official said on Monday.


" favor of a $US 3 billon gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant that would use natural gas to create 50,000 barrels (2.1 million gallons) of diesel and naphtha fuel each day."

This story talks about using natural gas in Ohio to make GTL. The economics are there, the natural gas is there, the price of oil is there.

I suppose they could listen to some that say that it can not or should not be done, but guess what, they ARE doing it.


SJC, did you note the author of that WSJ piece?  CEO, Brazos GTL Technologies, Inc.!

I keep asking you, and you never answer:  does GTL have a future at Europe-like gas prices of $15/mmBTU and 33% efficiency?  Won't the entire trucking industry have switched to CNG or LNG, at less than 1/3 the per-BTU price of GTL diesel?  The switch to LNG is starting now, with LNG being marketed at Flying J truck stops.

At 33% efficiency, one gallon of GTL diesel @ 140,000 BTU requires 420,000 BTU of natural gas to make it.  At $15/mmBTU, that natural gas costs $4.20.  Add $1/gallon for the plant and you're up to $5.20/gallon before taxes.

Purchase cost for LNG at a conventional plant varies from about $0.70 to $0.90 per diesel gallon equivalent, before taxes.

You will ignore this, like you always do.  You buy the propaganda.  GTL is just a way of keeping the system running on liquids, which preserves the market for crude oil.  That serves XOM and OPEC, nobody else.


Excuse me, the gas costs $6.30, not $4.20.  Plant-door cost would be upwards of $7/gallon.

Henry Gibson

There is no reason that there is only 33 percent efficiency in converting LNG to diesel fuel, and in the US and europe at least, diesel vehicles should be dual fuel, LNG and diesel. Now that it is Japanese owned, Artemis may have the resources to make hydraulic hybrid lorries and save on fuel that way. There are even hints that railway locomotives will be implemented along with 7 megawatt wind turbines. ..HG..


You can keep asking forever, you are nobody and have no right to demand anything from anyone...get that through your thick skull.

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