UK based Bibby Distribution has converted five MAN tractor units to dual fuel LPG for Unipart Rail, which will save up to £200,000 of fuel and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 10% over the next five years.
The two firms have worked together since 1998, with Bibby Distribution operating 30 vehicles for Unipart Rail, some of which run in excess of 200,000km a year. The switch to LPG is expected to take over 66 tonnes of emissions out of Unipart’s vehicle operations. With fuel bills accounting for around 30% of the overall contract cost, the move will also significantly slash operating expenses.
Duane Trower, Logistics Operations Director at Unipart Rail said, “Fuel usage comes with both financial and environmental costs, so we were delighted when Bibby Distribution proposed a solution that would help cut both without compromising on service. We’re already seeing substantial savings both in terms of cash and carbon emissions and we’ll be breaking even on the investment in less than 18 months.”
The five MAN TGS 26.440 LS units were converted to use both diesel and LPG by G-Volution at a cost of £8,500 per vehicle. The conversion consists of fitting an additional LPG tank that is typically one-third of the size of the diesel tank.
An onboard-computerised optimiser then analyses the engine output requirements during a journey and sources fuel from either tank as required.
To support the vehicles, Bibby Distribution also installed an LPG tank at the vehicles’ home depot in Doncaster, allowing quick and easy refuelling as the units return to the hub each day after delivering refurbished train bogies across the country.
Given the vehicles are double-shifted and clocking up thousands of miles a year, they were considered ideal candidates to deliver a quick payback. With LPG costing around £0.50 per litre compared to £1.07 per litre for bulk diesel, it is estimated that the payback period is around 14 months with a minimum saving of £29,000 per vehicle over a five year lifespan – although changes to fuel prices could see this extend to as much as £40,000 each.
Robert Earl, Contract Manager at Bibby Distribution, said, “Escalating costs and cutting emissions are continual challenges, but dual fuel vehicles are a genuine long-term solution that will support customers, and LPG is more than suitable for green band driving. Through these vehicles, we’re keeping Unipart Rail on the move at a lower cost to the client, and a lower cost to the environment.”