Royal Mail switches to vegetable oil to power HGVs

Royal Mail has announced plans to switch its fleet of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a renewable diesel alternative, in a bid to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.

Royal Mail switches to vegetable oil to power HGVs

Image: Royal Mail

Royal Mail’s Sheffield mail centre, Midlands Super Hub, and Manchester vehicle operating centre are the initial sites switching to HVO, with four more locations set to transition in the coming months.

By implementing HVO at these sites, a total of 2.1 million litres of diesel consumption will be saved this year.

Royal Mail’s fleet director Rob Fowler said: “We consider HVO to be a transitional fuel that helps us to take steps towards decarbonising our HGV fleet whilst low-emissions technologies continue to advance in this area.

“We will continue to assess and test other emerging low-emission technologies that we could potentially deploy in our larger fleet including electric and hydrogen HGVs.”

During the initial year of implementation, Certas Energy will provide assistance to Royal Mail with its roll-out of HVO.

According to Certas Energy, HVO has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 90%.

Royal Mail has set a long-term goal of achieving an average emissions target of 50gCO2e per parcel, in addition to near-term emissions targets, aiming to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 25% by 2025 and Scope 3 emissions by 25% by 2030, based on a 2020/21 base year. Currently, the company is operating at 218gCO2e.

Electric fleet roll-out

Last week, Royal Mail revealed that it had achieved the milestone of introducing 5,000 electric vehicles (EVs) within its delivery and collection fleet operating in cities with low emission zones, such as London, Bristol, Glasgow, Cambridge, and Oxford.

Sheffield City Delivery Office marked the deployment of the 5000th EV, joining more than 50 other EVs on site.

The latest location to switch to an all-electric fleet is Urmston Delivery Office, with 19 EVs in operation.

Sheffield City customer office manager Richard Sewell said: “The new vans are becoming a familiar site on the streets of Sheffield and our posties are really excited about doing their bit to reduce air and noise pollution in the town.”

According to the company, the fully electric vans offer up to 38% larger load space compared to their predecessors, accommodating the rising parcel volumes efficiently.

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