Alternative fuel centre moves a step closer thanks to NGN grant

The development of a compressed natural gas (CNG) filling station in Bradford has moved a step closer after Northern Gas Networks secured funding to progress the project.

NGN has been awarded a £770,000 Network Innovation Competition funding grant from Ofgem for essential work to link Bradford’s Alternative Fuel Centre to the gas transmission system.

Compressed natural gas is a cleaner and quieter alternative to traditional transport fuels, which will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as the UK tackles decarbonisation.

The plans will see the Household Waste Recycling Centre on Bowling Back Lane redeveloped by 2021 to provide the facility for Bradford Council and other local business fleets including NGN.

As well as helping achieve the council’s climate change targets, the use of alternative fuels would provide a cost saving both for the local authority and other businesses taking advantage of the site.

Richard Hynes-Cooper, head of innovation for Northern Gas Networks, said: “Transport is a key piece of the decarbonisation jigsaw. Alternative fuels like CNG allow us to take a step towards moving large fleets, such as our own, towards a cleaner and greener future.

‘We’re delighted to be working with Bradford Council on such a significant project for the city and the region.”

Ofgem’s Gas Network Innovation Competition is an annual opportunity for gas network companies to compete for a pot of £20 million funding, for the development and demonstration of new technologies.

Funding is provided for the best innovation projects helping networks understand how they can deliver environmental benefits, reduced costs and maintained security of energy supply for customers, as the UK moves to a low carbon economy.

Project funding was secured in 2015, and the Bradford CNG opportunity was identified when a suitable site for a filling station in Leeds could not be secured.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for healthy people and healthy places, said: “The Alternative Fuel Centre is an important part of our plans to reduce air pollution and reduce our carbon footprint. This grant takes us a step closer and we thankful for the work NGN have been doing to help get us to this point. We look forward to continuing to work with them to complete this project.”

The council plans to replace 77 HGVs with compressed gas variants over the next seven years including 22 in the financial year 2021/22. These would include refuse collection vehicles, articulated lorries, tankers and hook-loaders.

On average, each HGV currently consume 14,000 litres of diesel per annum and, by switching fuels, the project will achieve greenhouse gas reductions of 85% for each.

It is estimated that this will reduce the council’s fleet greenhouse gas emissions by almost 12,400 tonnes over the next seven years.

Grants for local businesses to upgrade vehicles to meet Clean Air Zone (CAZ) standards, including compressed gas vehicles, are proposed to be available until the end of 2021 as part of the Bradford Clean Air Plan.

NGN has committed 15 fleet vehicles to use the site.

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