Wholesale and retail group BWG Foods has become the first FMCG group in Ireland to launch a fleet of biogas powered vehicles as part of the implementation of its sustainability strategy.
BWG Foods owns and operates the Spar, Eurospar, Londis, Mace and XL brands in Ireland. The new fleet of HGVs are fuelled with biogas in place of traditional diesel fuel. The company has ambitions to further increase the use of biogas as part of their increasingly environmentally-friendly fuel mix. The new vehicles will deliver a 90% reduction in transport related carbon emissions.
The launch of the biogas rigid 26 tonne fuelled trucks with electric fridge units, which each cost in the region of €180,000, follows a partnership between BWG and two Irish start-ups – VisionGreen and Generation Green.
The trucks are the most efficient transport vehicles across the sector and are also the quietest, meaning less noise pollution across towns and city centres. The first two of BWG Foods’ biogas fuelled trucks will lead to a reduction of 200 tonnes of carbon emissions annually by the business.
In addition to the launch of its fleet, BWG will also contribute food waste from their 240,000 sq ft National Distribution Centre at Kilcarbery to the biogas production site at Nurney, Co. Kildare, making this a circular solution.
In the last 12 months, the Group has invested in sustainability measures to lower the carbon footprint of its delivery operations and currently has the largest fleet of CNG (compressed natural gas) powered trucks in operation in Ireland, with plans to increase this from 18 to 50 by 2025.
Each of BWG Foods’ CNG trucks complete approximately 120,000 kilometres annually, saving 100 tonnes of Co2 emissions in the process, an average of 15 tonnes per truck.
As part of its investment programme, BWG has plans to gradually increase the use of biogas fuel across its entire fleet of CNG trucks as production of the fuel increases.
Speaking about the launch, Joanne Mellon, Logistics Director BWG Foods, said: “We believe that biogas trucks are the answer to achieve immediate Co2 reductions, as electric and hydrogen HGVs are in their infancy and won’t be available in the Irish market for some time to come. It’s been an exciting process working with two Irish companies, VisionGreen and Generation Green, in the development of a solution that has the potential to transform the logistics industry in a very positive way.”
John Pakenham, Director, Vision Green said: “The aim of our work is to support the business sector to make more sustainable choices and, with greater planning and investment, Ireland has huge potential for developing Renewable Gas. We have partnered with the only existing producer, Green Generation in Nurney Kildare, to bring this pilot to life, to help demonstrate the benefits of Renewable Gas as a transport fuel.”
As part of its wider supply chain sustainability programme, BWG Foods has also implemented a number of operational efficiency projects that have already led to collective Co2 emission savings of 3,200 metric tonnes per year for the last 4 years. This included a re-routing programme which led to the reduction of more than 2.3m kilometres travelled annually and an increase of individual delivery vehicle capacity by 15%. The business also introduced double deck trailers to reduce the number of journeys being made.