John Lewis to build its first on-site biomethane filling station

18 June 2020 by Marie Cloherty
blog author

The John Lewis Partnership is to install a biomethane filling plant for its HGVs, the company has announced.

The low-carbon move is a step towards the company’s new ambition to stop using fossil fuels across its entire 4,800 fleet of transport by 2030.

The new filling station will be built in collaboration with Air Liquide and will open this December at the company’s headquarters in Bracknell, Berkshire.

It will convert the Bracknell Waitrose fleet to biomethane and complement gas filling stations already in use near its regional distribution centres in Leyland, Lancashire, and in Northampton. 

Last March, the employee-owned business which owns Waitrose and John Lewis, set a net zero carbon target across its entire operations by 2050, with 600 HGVs to be switched to biomethane by 2028.

Around 120 Waitrose heavy goods trucks will be powered by biomethane made from food waste and food processing waste materials, rather than diesel, reducing CO2 emissions by 80 per cent.

Each truck is expected to save more than 100 tonnes of CO2 every year and will create less noise pollution. Over the next seven years, the Bracknell site alone will save more than 70,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to the carbon footprint produced by over 13,000 UK households. 

A total of 85 heavy diesel vehicles have already been replaced with biomethane trucks since 2015, and a further 143 will be purchased by the partnership and in operation by the end of 2020 - the largest order of biomethane trucks in the UK.

The partnership also wants to eliminate fossil fuels from its commercial vehicle and car fleet by 2030, which could see approximately 750 refrigerated trailers converted from diesel to electric, alongside the introduction of 1,750 electric vans and light trucks.

Its 1,300 strong car fleet would become 100 per cent electric and any remaining vehicles that could not be converted to biomethane or electric will use hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) biodiesel.

Justin Laney, partner and general manager of central transport at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “The evidence of climate change is all around us, so it’s important we act now using available technology rather than wait for unproven solutions to appear.

“We are working hard towards our new aim of removing all fossil fuel from our transport fleet by 2030, which will reduce our carbon emissions by over half a million tonnes and gets us well on the way to our ultimate target of operating a net zero carbon emission fleet.”

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