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First live demonstration of BioLPG as a fuel for Freight Transport

With Government plans to end diesel-only trains in the UK by 2040, the race is on to find cleaner ways to transport goods and people by rail. To this end, G-volution, in partnership with Calor and Colas, has successfully carried out the first live demonstration project using BioLPG and diesel to power a freight train.
As the only supplier currently bringing BioLPG into the UK, Calor worked with G-volution to provide trackside refuelling facilities for the project. Although the freight locomotive, which was operated by Colas, was fitted with new fuel tanks, its engine only needed a minor conversion to take both BioLPG and diesel. This is because G-volution’s optimiser control unit enables the precise reduction of the quantity of diesel injected into the engine and replace it with renewable BioLPG.

BioLPG is a co-product of the biodiesel production process, which uses a blend of waste, residues and sustainably sourced materials. During the refining process, a variety of ‘off-gases’ are produced that contain biopropane, which is then purified to make it identical to conventional LPG. 

Adrian Heath, Business Development Manager at Calor, comments: “Calor as a business has pledged to supply 100% renewable energy by 2040. As part of this strategy, we already supply BioLPG to HGVs that run on dual fuel. This collaboration with G-volution is the natural next step in helping other modes of transport to decarbonise. Working with an innovative company such as G-volution not only forms a key part of our own journey to fulfilling our sustainability pledge, but also enables the rail industry to make the transition to use more sustainable fuels.”

Chris Smith, founder and CEO of G-volution Ltd, says: “Many people have said it’s not possible to bring clean fuels into the rail infrastructure and prove that they can save money. In the freight industry in particular, there are very few immediately available decarbonising technologies. This project, which has been funded by Innovate UK and the Department for Transport, has been set up to show that cleaner fuels will enable the rail freight industry to operate in a more sustainable and cost-effective way.

“The rail industry has very stringent requirements in terms of safety compliance and system integration. The next step after this successful live demonstration is for the locomotive to go into service, to provide the assurance required for industry acceptance, network approval, and what we hope will be wider commercial adoption.”

To watch a video of the live demonstration project, visit https://www.g-volution.co.uk/site/home. To find out more about Calor’s sustainability strategy, visit Our World.