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Biomethane: The Greenest Alternative Fuel of All?
UPS package car in London

This week, UPS announced the deployment of 10 dual-fuel biomethane-diesel vehicles in the United Kingdom. The addition of biomethane fuel technology to our diverse fleet is potentially very exciting, as biomethane is one of the world’s most environmentally friendly vehicle fuels yet.

Biomethane is a renewable energy source produced from organic waste, in this case derived from a landfill.  Biomethane has unique properties and provides a number of environmental benefits. It has great potential for reducing carbon – each unit of biomethane cuts emissions well-to-wheel by 70% compared to diesel. Also, it reduces our dependency on fossil fuels. And it’s also one of the few alternative fuels that supports long-haul, heavy end trucks used for moving package trailers.

This vehicle type is a brand-new addition to UPS’s alternative fleet of more than 2,500 vehicles. Since 2000, UPS’s alternative fuel fleet has collectively logged more than 200 million miles.

We take a “rolling laboratory” approach to alternative fuels, constantly testing and investing in the latest innovations across varying markets across the world to find the best solutions to suit our business.  Our 2,500-strong global fleet of alternative fuel vehicles includes propulsion with Compressed Natural Gas, Propane, Liquefied Natural Gas, all-electric, hybrid electric and hydraulic hybrid.  And we continue to develop and test innovative technologies.  All this is part of UPS’s commitment to reducing our fuel consumptions and our impact on the environment.

As an advocate of alternative fuel technologies, we believe there are many paths to the future and no single “silver bullet.” It is therefore important that government policies and programs support a broad variety of fuels and vehicle technologies with a focus on those that solve multiple environmental problems. And biomethane should be a part of our transportation energy future. With the right policies, infrastructure and incentives in place, biomethane can be a valid and valuable solution to deliver low-carbon fuel from waste products while creating jobs and economic benefits.

Category: Global Impact, Sustainability
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    Comments [5]

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  2. Mr. Harris, I’m working in a research group at MIT that is studying the environmental of the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. I was wondering, is this biomethane used as a gas or as a liquid on the trucks? Also, is there more information on what model/assumptions are used to calculate the 70% reduction in green house gas?

    • The biomethane used is in liquid form – liquefied biomethane (LBM). This is necessary to get the range we need – we can’t carry enough in compressed form.

      The model/assumptions used to calculate the 70% reduction in green house gas? This comes from the UK government’s factors, as published jointly by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change). Annex 9 shows the All Scopes (well to wheel) emissions for biomethane and normal diesel as 27 kg CO2e / GJ and 89 kg CO2e / GJ respectively, ie. a 70% reduction. Bear in mind this is the comparison between pure biomethane and normal diesel – our vehicles are dual fuel, so they burn a combination of biomethane and diesel. The amount of biomethane is automatically maximized for the driving conditions. We are aiming for 55% substitution (ie. 55% of the diesel replaced by biomethane on an energy (GJ) basis. Early results, to be confirmed, show we may be exceeding this. As technology develops we would hope that greater substitution rates become possible.

  3. Do you have a web site for employment.

    • Hi Doug,
      You can visti http://www.upsjobs.com for employment information.

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