Royal Mail Vehicles To Use Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Fuel
Royal Mail Vehicles To Use Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Fuel

Some of Royal Mail’s heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will be powered by hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO). Biofuels International reports that the Sheffield mail centre, the Midlands Super Hub, and vehicle operating centres in Manchester will pioneer the use of the biofuel as part of the drive to reach carbon net-zero by 2040. 

Royal Mail say the sites have been chosen because of high volumes of mail that they deal with. HVO will be rolled out for use at other centres in the future. HVO is a biofuel made from various vegetable oils and fats that are not based on fossil fuel resources. They can be produced from feedstuffs such as rapeseed oil, waste cooking oil, and animal fats.

The chemical composition of HVO is similar to that of diesel fuel, so it can be in existing diesel engines without the need for any modifications. HVO has 90% fewer harmful greenhouse gas emissions than regular diesel fuel. 

Rob Fowler, fleet director at Royal Mail, said: “We’ve made great progress in decarbonising our operation by introducing 5,000 electric vehicles into our final mile fleet but we also need to focus on our HGVs.”

“At present, the electric and hydrogen alternatives are still in development for HGVs. Vehicle ranges are low, purchase prices are high and infrastructure is in its infancy. That is why we have introduced the use of HVO to decarbonise the HGV fleet within our operation via the most viable low-carbon option.”

Elsewhere, Virgin Atlantic have announced that they have scheduled the world’s first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) transatlantic flight for 28 November. The airline is working in collaboration with Rolls Royce to develop a suitable jet engine, and they have already carried out successful test flights. 

SAF has 70% fewer harmful emissions compared to traditional aviation fuel. Under current regulations, only a 50% blend of SAF is allowed for fuels in commercial aircraft flights.

Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic, said: “The 100% SAF transatlantic flight will be a historic moment in aviation’s roadmap to decarbonisation.”

“Alongside fleet transformation, SAF is the most readily available way for our industry to decarbonise, but currently there’s not enough supply and without it and the radical collaboration required to produce it, we can’t meet our 2030 targets.”

“We need UK government support to create a UK SAF industry to allow for every single flight out of the UK to operate with 100% SAF – if we make it, we can fly it.”

Elsewhere, the International Airlines Group (IAG) have announced that they are making a significant investment into SAF technologies. They are working with UK based Nova Pangaea Technologies (NPT) to create advanced biofuels from non-food agricultural waste and wood residues, Yahoo News reports.

NPT have developed an advanced technology that allows them to convert these substances into second generation bioethanol, which is then converted into SAF. The company aims to build the first commercial SAF plant in the UK.

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