Waitrose, the supermarket retail brand of the John Lewis Partnership, has introduced two dedicated gas-fuelled Scania tractor units into service. Based at Waitrose’s Leyland, Lancashire regional distribution centre, the vehicles have an operational range of 350 miles are now providing daily return-to-base services to stores throughout northern England, the north Midlands and north Wales.
“As an organisation intent on minimising its carbon footprint, we have a keen desire to operate on sustainable fuels,” says Simon Gray, John Lewis’s Vehicle Engineering Manager. “While we already have considerable experience of dual-fuel vehicles, operating solely on gas takes our environmental performance to another level.”
Key to the vehicle’s introduction has been the development of a state-of-the-art gas refuelling station in Leyland by CNG Fuels Limited. The station is connected to the national high-pressure grid and as such is capable of refuelling up to 500 trucks a day – the greatest refuelling capacity of any facility in Europe. The gas supplied is sustainable bio-methane, created from food waste and tracked virtually through the grid using Green Gas Certificates.
The two Waitrose vehicles typically take around four minutes each to refuel at the end of a day’s work. This rapid turnaround means the station also uses less electricity during the refuelling process than lower pressure stations and consequently has a lighter environmental footprint.
“The success of gas-fuelled operation depends upon a reliable supply of gas and the Leyland installation now provides us with the local support we need,” says Simon Gray. “In terms of the trucks themselves, we have plenty of operating experience with diesel Scanias, and early indications are that the gas-powered trucks are performing well. Moreover, they are quiet to drive and our drivers, who are Partners in the business, are proud to drive vehicles with excellent environmental credentials.
“Looking to the future, we envisage introducing many more gas vehicles into Leyland, the ultimate goal being to displace as much diesel as possible with bio-methane.”
The two Scania trucks supplied to Waitrose are P 340 LA4x2MNA models plated at 31-tonnes gross train weight. Both vehicle are equipped with Scania’s OC09 102, nine-litre, Euro 6 engine. Delivering 340hp (250kW) at 1,900 rpm and 1,600Nm of torque between 1,100 and 1,400 rpm, this engine is designed to operate solely on gas (compressed or liquified) and offers a high thermal efficiency of 40 percent. When operating on biogas, carbon dioxide reductions of up to 90 percent can be achieved.