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Circular solution: SPAR Ireland launches fleet of biogas fuelled delivery vehicles

July 13, 2020 IN THE CATEGORY: Climate, Environment, Responsible retailing, Supply Chain

BWG Foods, supplier to SPAR and EUROSPAR Supermarkets in Ireland, has become the first FMCG group in Ireland to launch a fleet of biogas powered vehicles as part of the implementation of its ambitious sustainability strategy. In addition to the launch of its fleet, BWG will also contribute food waste from their 22300m² National Distribution Centre at Kilcarbery to the biogas production site at Nurney, County Kildare, making this a circular solution.

The company has launched an initial fleet of two Heavy Goods Delivery Vehicles (HGV’s) fuelled with biogas in place of traditional diesel fuel, with ambitions to further increase the use of biogas as part of their increasingly environmentally friendly fuel mix. The vehicles are projected to deliver a 90 percent reduction in transport-related carbon emissions.

The launch of the biogas rigid 26-tonne fuelled trucks with electric fridge units, which each cost in the region of €180,000, follows a partnership between BWG and two Irish start-ups – VisionGreen and Generation Green – and represents the most significant development in terms of green transport in Ireland this year.

The trucks are the most efficient transport vehicles across the sector and are also the quietest, meaning less noise pollution across towns and city centres. The first two of BWG Foods’ biogas fuelled trucks will lead to a reduction of 200 tonnes of carbon emissions annually by the business.

In the last 12 months, the group has invested heavily in sustainability measures to lower the carbon footprint of its delivery operations and currently has the largest fleet of CNG (compressed natural gas) powered trucks in operation in Ireland, with plans to increase this from 18 to 50 by 2025.

Each of BWG Foods’ CNG trucks completes approximately 120,000 kilometres annually, saving 100 tonnes of Co2 emissions in the process, an average of 15 tonnes per truck. As part of its ambitious investment programme, BWG has plans to gradually increase the use of biogas fuel across its entire fleet of CNG trucks as production of the fuel increases.

Biogas, which is produced by the natural breakdown of food and sewage waste, has been designated as one of the Future Fuel of Choice by the Irish Government with greater investment and incentives planned for the increased production of biogas in Ireland. It is also the fuel of choice for BWG Foods into the future given sufficient availability and supports 

Speaking about the launch, Joanne Mellon, Logistics Director BWG Foods, said: “We at BWG are very passionate about finding new solutions that can reduce our environmental impact and given the significant scale of our business, and the expansive supply chain operation that supports it, it is critically important that we invest in new technologies that allow us to pioneer less carbon-intensive methods of delivery. 

“We believe that Biogas trucks are the answer to achieve immediate Co2 reductions, as electric and hydrogen HGVs are in their infancy and won’t be available in the Irish market for some time to come. It’s been an exciting process working with two Irish companies, VisionGreen and Generation Green, in the development of a solution that has the potential to transform the logistics industry in a very positive way.”

Source: SPAR Ireland

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About SPAR Ireland

SPAR Ireland was established in 1963 and is operated by leading wholesale and retail company, BWG Foods. In 2014, 80% of BWG’s shares were sold to SPAR South Africa, however, the existing shareholders remain involved in the business.

With a presence in every county across the Republic of Ireland, SPAR is one of the country’s largest convenience retail groups. In developing the business, SPAR Ireland has a long track record of recognising the strategic importance of introducing new retail concepts. It operates three of the four SPAR formats: SPAR, EUROSPAR and SPAR Express, bringing consumers a comprehensive range of innovative products and instore offerings.