30.11.2021 | Rail

Freightliner accelerates progress towards Net Zero with low emission fuel

Rail operator trials cleaner fuel solution designed by GBF and Shell.

Freightliner embarks on further operational trials of Gd45 powered by Shell GTL Fuel, a new cleaner, low carbon fuel supplied by Green Biofuels Ltd (GBF), as part of its ongoing commitment to clean air and carbon reduction.

Freightliner, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) and a leading UK rail freight operator is supporting the development of Gd45 powered by Shell GTL Fuel, a new lower emission fuel, and will be the first to use the product for operational trials on some of its diesel-powered services in support of their commitment to enhancing the environmental benefits of rail freight transportation.

This new, cleaner fuel solution designed by GBF, the UK’s leading provider of Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and Shell, tackles GHG (greenhouse gases) and particulate emissions in the rail and road freight industry. Gd45 Powered by Shell GTL Fuel consists of 55% Shell GTL (gas to liquids) Fuel and 45% Gd+ HVO.

Freightliner has been extensively trialling the fuel on some of its services over recent months in partnership with GBF and Shell. Data collected from the testing shows significant emissions reductions in diesel engines of 84% methane, 14% NOx and 18% ultra-fine particulates when compared to regular diesel. There was no performance impact or loss of horsepower.

The substantial carbon and air quality benefits show that this will be an important transitional fuel on the journey to net-zero by 2050. Transitioning across to Gd45 powered by Shell GTL Fuel for diesel services would lower Freightliner’s CO2e emissions by 50%, equivalent to 91,740mt every year.

GBF is a UK Business Climate Leader and the first HVO supplier to be approved by Zemo’s Renewable Fuels Assurance Scheme.

Magnus Hammick, Chief Operating Officer at GBF, comments:

“GBF has been delighted to be fully engaged with the Freightliner team to show the empirical benefits of advanced fuels. The current energy crisis shows both the resilience of industry to innovate other ways to hit their net-zero goals and the value of drop-in alternative fuels on the road to decarbonising rail. We’re happy to see great strides have been made, but the recent hikes in energy prices and the fact the UK National Grid is still in the process of cutting its emissions shows that we still have a way to travel to achieve these long-term goals. The rail networks deliver the lowest carbon solution for bulk freight movement when running on Gd45 powered by Shell GTL Fuel.

“Gd45 Powered by Shell GTL Fuel is a bridging technology that supports the emissions reductions of legacy fleets in the interim period between now and net-zero. It’s a way to make an immediate difference today.”

Tim Shakerley, Managing Director, Rail at Freightliner, comments:

“With COP 26 focusing global attention on the importance of climate change, Freightliner is committed to and at the forefront of a number of energy-saving initiatives aimed at reducing their carbon footprint even further.

“Rail is already the most carbon-efficient mode for transporting freight around Great Britain, and growing volumes using alternative fuels will be crucial to support the decarbonisation of the UK economy.

“The journey to net-zero 2050 will require a range of different technologies and fuels, and we are delighted to have supported the development of this transitional fuel. The emissions reductions are exceptional, with average reduced CO2e emissions of 43%, a reduction in NOx of 14% and 18% fewer ultra-fine particulates compared to conventional diesel, demonstrating the strong carbon and air quality benefits of this fuel.

“Working closely with GBF and Shell, the trials show that this fuel offers significant environmental gains, with no performance impact or loss of horsepower. We are delighted that Freightliner will continue operational trials of the Gd45 Powered by Shell GTL Fuel across a number of our services.”

Renee Power at Shell, GM – Global GTL Market Development comments:

“Working closely with GBF, we have developed Gd45Powered by Shell GTL Fuel, a lower carbon, cleaner fuel to help the hard to abate sectors like the rail and road freight industry, take the first step on their decarbonisation journey today.”

i * The GHG savings percentage indicated is an approximate figure based on calculations made in accordance with data (and averages) sourced from the UK Government GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting 2020 evaluation of GTL and HVO lifecycle (WtW) carbon intensity, available in Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Greenhouse gas reporting: conversion factors 2020. Savings percentages may be lower than stated above, with no guarantees provided.