Cadent, in partnership with CNG Fuels, won the 2017 Utility Week Environment Award for its Leyland project. In the first of a series of case studies looking at the Award winners, Utility Week looks in detail at the initiative.

  • Category title: Environment Award
  • Category sponsor: Enzen
  • Award winner: Cadent Gas and CNG Fuels
  • Title of project/initiative: the Leyland project
  • Annual company turnover: £961 million (Cadent Gas, 2016-17)
  • Number of directly-employed staff: 4,500
  • Entry criteria:
  1. Clear and evidence-based entries that tell the story succinctly, and back up their claims with numbers.
  2. Projects with clear and quantifiable goals that were met or exceeded
  3. Measurable benefits for the environment
  4. Measurable benefits for the business and project delivered, including whether the project was delivered on time and to budget
  5. Evidence of companies that have done something extra for the environment, going beyond “business-as-usual”

 

In partnership with CNG Fuels, Cadent invested in the creation of the UK’s first commercial high-pressure compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling station for HGVs. The facility is connected to the company’s high-pressure local transmission system at Leyland, Lancashire, and has been operating since February 2016.

Cadent said it believes its network has great potential as a nationwide infrastructure to support a low-carbon energy future for transport. The goal of this initial project was to demonstrate the efficiencies and benefits – including greenhouse gas and emissions benefits – of using the high-pressure local transmission system to connect CNG filling stations, over and above connections to the medium-pressure system.

What was The scale of the project?

Cadent owns four of the eight gas distribution networks in the UK. It connects more than 11 million homes and businesses to the gas they use. The Leyland project was beyond its usual delivery scope as transport is not part of its core business.

This was the first project Cadent had invested in to explore the potential of its network to be used for low-carbon transport.

What was the Target group?

The target groups for this project and similar low-carbon transport initiatives are the 132 major retailers and distributors with centres within 2km of the local transmission system. Leyland was chosen based on its proximity to: several UK distribution centres – including John Lewis – which were interested in converting to low carbon HGV fleets; and the motorway network.Why this approach?

Although the UK already had CNG stations drawing on the medium and intermediate pressure pipelines, the proposal for Leyland was to become the first station to realise the further benefits from connecting directly to the high-pressure pipeline – the local transmission system (LTS).

Connecting directly means less energy is needed to compress the gas for use as fuel. In addition, there is no leakage from the LTS system, meaning that the “well-to-wheel” emission figures for each vehicle becomes highly favourable.

By providing detailed design, installation and commissioning information about an LTS connection, Leyland could act as a catalyst to allow the UK gas network to be utilised for more lower carbon transport into the future.

What were the project’s KPIs?

Independent consultants – Element Energy – monitored the performance of the station by collecting and analysing data on the KPIs. This included the per-km emissions of vehicles as compared to those vehicles using non-LTS supplied gas filling stations, and to diesel vehicles, both on a “well-to-tank” basis and on a “well-to-wheel” basis.

The final report found that vehicles showed an 84 per cent drop in well-to-wheel (CO2/km) emissions from HGVs using Leyland, compared with a diesel fuelled counterpart. Station specific emissions at Leyland, related to station operation such as electricity use, were 79 per cent lower than stations using gas from lower pressure pipes.

How was creativity demonstrated?

The station was a new and novel arrangement of existing technology applied to create a high-pressure filling station – the first in the UK. In addition, the station is equipped with filling bays for CNG tankers, so the “daughter” stations with no access to the gas grid can be supplied by tanker.

The station also dispenses 100 per cent biomethane that has been authenticated by the use of green gas certificates. The certificates effectively “buy” the allocation of green gas produced at a nearby waste food plant then injects biomethane into the grid.

What has the impact been on the company?

This innovation project fitted specifically into Cadent’s work exploring the future role of gas. The company says it is leading several “ambitious projects” to understand how gas can help the UK meet its climate reduction targets for heat and transport, in a way that is both practical and affordable for customers.

The results from Leyland have provided important evidence about the environmental benefits of stations connected to the LTS. This supports Cadent’s view that CNG could and should be the fuel of choice for HGVs and buses and the company is currently looking into other stations on its network.

Who was involved?

Cadent – the innovation, safety and network strategy, and operate and maintain teams, plus CNG Fuels.

Were there any hurdles along the way?

The initial design and commissioning phase was complex and required 6-18 months to complete, which was challenging to costs. The project highlighted the factors that would help to either reduce the cost of LTS connection or de-risk the investment. This in turn helps to reduce the barrier for the roll-out of LTS stations.

During the trial, early data showed that efficiencies between different trucks varied. It was identified that greater efficiencies could be demonstrated from 250 bar trucks, which could travel further, and with other modifications during manufacture.

What was the cost of the project?

Total station cost was approximately £1.55 million. Cadent received £750,000 funding from Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance funding – this included staff time – of which Cadent contributed £386,000.

What the judges said

The judges called this an “ambitious project” with the potential to roll out to every city and town nationwide.

Richard Cook, lead project manager, Cadent

“The Utility Week Award has helped to highlight how CNG filling stations connected to the local transmission system, are a practical and affordable option to decarbonise HGV transport, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to clean air. It supports our work with the transport sector and government, encouraging investment and removing barriers to growth.”

 

On the night: the winners pick up their Award

The Utility Week Awards are held in association with CGI and Capgemini, and the Environment Award is sponsored by Enzen.

The 2018 Utility Week Awards will be opening soon. Sponsorship opportunities are available – contact Utility Week business development manager Ben Hammond on benhammond@fav-house.com or 01342 332116 for more information.

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