The parcel delivery firm DPD has announced plans to decarbonise its fleet by 2030 and has, it said, already started using alternative fuels in some of its vehicles.
Switching to veggie power
The firm said that it had begun using Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) in its trucks as a replacement fuel for diesel and is in the middle of plans to switch its entire lorry fleet over to HVO to reduce its overall emissions figures. DPD’s linehaul lorry fleet is responsible for transporting freight between its central national hub in Athlone and its 35 depots around Ireland. Switching the entire fleet over to HVO would reduce its CO2 emissions by 4,350 tonnes yearly versus an entirely diesel-powered operation, representing an 87 per cent reduction in emissions compared to 2020, according to DPD.
With HVO not yet widely available at commercial pumps, DPD has installed a dedicated storage tank and pump at its hub in Athlone. Its decision to commit to the fuel comes following a trial between June and September this year.
DPD Ireland Chief Executive Des Travers said the company began looking at alternative fuel options for its line-haul fleet after difficulty sourcing electric heavy goods vehicles.
“We’ve had HVO on our radar for several years. It has become imperative for our business to reduce our emissions which is why we are taking action. We are on a journey to become the most sustainable parcel delivery company in Ireland and this is just the next step for us. We will continue to overcome the challenges as we 100 per cent decarbonise our business”.
“At full capacity, the company will be avoiding 16 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per day versus a fully diesel operation. This is due to the reduced well-to-wheel emissions that HVO offers.”
Further explaining DPD’s rationale behind the switch to HVO was the company’s Sustainability Programme Manager, James Atkinson.
“Unlike electric vans where you need to purchase a new van, HVO is seamless in that it can be used as a drop-in replacement for diesel in the transition to low-carbon fuel alternatives,” he said.
“The vehicle or engine does not need to be replaced, which is very inviting for companies looking to change their fleet to more sustainable means.”
“If it cannot be measured, it cannot be improved”
Underscoring the importance of measurement and tracking to any environmental initiative within any business, Atkinson said that keeping a close eye on the quantity of fuel being used allowed the firm to calculate with some accuracy the volume of CO2 being saved.
“In order to validate our emissions savings, we are using a smart pump system. The HVO dispensed at the pump is automatically recorded to track our total usage. The vehicle’s odometer is tracked when the fuel is dispensed, and a digital record is kept that correlates fuel used with kilometres driven. By tracking the vehicle type, we can more accurately calculate the emissions avoided. This is a step up in our emissions tracking and enables better reporting.”
DPD also moving to electrification
However, the use of HVO isn’t the only step that DPD is currently taking to decarbonise its vehicle fleet.
The company is currently delivering more than 4,000 parcels per day by electric van and expects delivery of 205 new electric Ford E-Transits, more than double the target amount announced last year. This increase will bring its electric fleet to 258 (nearly 20 per cent of its total fleet) by mid-2023.
DPD Ireland last year announced a further €2 million investment to decarbonise its Irish fleet with the addition of 100 new electric vehicles by the end of 2022. The company has invested €3.2 million since 2019 in electric vans and infrastructure.