The project will see two of Veolia’s end-of-life refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) retrofitted with batteries and electric motors, converting them from diesel to electric power.

The RCVs will initially be charged with grid electricity, but the company will then begin using energy generated from non-recyclable household waste – a move claimed to be first of its kind in the waste management sector.

The 26-tonne RCVs will be based in Sheffield and charged with power generated at the city’s Energy Recovery Facility (ERF), where 28 tonnes of non-recyclable household waste is incinerated every hour.

“By working closely with our customers to deliver fleet solutions that lower emissions, we help them ensure they deliver real value for money and limit costs for local taxpayers,” Veolia’s UK fleet director Gary Clark said.

“By recharging the vehicles from the ERF, this approach also shows how local authorities and the public sector can drive sustainability and use green energy to address their environmental challenges.”

Veolia will integrate the electrified RCVs into its refuse collection routes across Sheffield for a two-year period, with the initial trips set to begin before the end of 2018.

Two end-of-life RCVs within Veolia’s London-based fleet will also undergo the same retrofit process before 2020, the company said. If the trial proves successful, Veolia will assess the feasibility of decarbonising more of its fleet in a similar way.

Veolia’s announcement comes shortly after the firm received a grant from Innovate UK to help accelerate the transition to zero-emission heavy goods vehicles.

Greener garbage collections

Veolia recently added five fully-electric road sweepers to its London fleet in a bid to cut its annual carbon emissions by 78 tonnes – the equivalent of removing 33 cars from the road. Those vehicles will be rolled out in Lambeth by the end of this year after producing no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during a trial while maintaining the same performance as diesel alternatives.

Veolia is also using electric vans to carry out its waste management contracts with two NHS hospital trusts in Liverpool and Southport. The vehicles are recharged using low-carbon electricity generated at the company’s combined heat and power (CHP) plants. Elsewhere, the firm uses a fleet of three low-emission compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to carry out graffiti removal in Camden.

The developments come at a time when the electric vehicle (EV) revolution is just starting to hit the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) sector. Volvo unveiled its first electric truck designed for heavy-duty roles in May, while waste management firm Grundon recently launched its first hydrogen and diesel dual-fuel waste collection vehicle.

Sarah George

Comments (1)

  1. David Dundas says:

    I visited the Veolia energy recovery facility near Wolverhanpton yesterday; an impressive place. I did ask about the possibility of Veolia using electric or fuel cell electric vehicles, but their guide was not aware of this initiative. Actually Veolia would be better served by going for hydrogen-fuel cell EVs (FCEVs) as they have much greater range and can be refilled as quickly as a diesel vehicle; also they are more efficient, as the vehicle does’nt have to carry around a large weight of batteries, although they do have some between the fuel cell and the drive train.

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