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Thu June 24 2021

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Tarmac trains switch to vegetable oil fuel

8 Jun Tarmac and rail freight operator DB Cargo UK are switching from diesel to hydro-treated vegetable oil to power trains in the midlands.

But will the trains now smell like old chip pans?
But will the trains now smell like old chip pans?

Hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) will be fuelling all freight trains running between Tarmac’s Mountsorrel site in Leicestershire and its rail-fed asphalt plant in the centre of Birmingham.

The switch, part of Tarmac’s carbon reduction push, follows trials by DB Cargo UK that suggested 90% of a train’s carbon emissions can be eliminated by using HVO fuel instead of traditional red diesel.

Tarmac is one of the UK’s largest users of rail freight and currently transports more than nine million tonnes of construction materials by rail across the UK each year.

Chris Swan, head of rail at Tarmac, said: “We’re constantly looking to explore and adopt new innovations that support efficient and sustainability delivery, allowing us to move the right materials to the right place for customers. Developing our rail freight capability and capacity is key to our operations and aligns with the national agenda to deliver a low-carbon built environment.

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“As the fight to cut carbon emissions and reduce air pollution intensifies, rail freight is becoming increasingly important for our sector and the adoption of new, sustainable fuels will further help to drive down emissions.”

DB Cargo UK’s head of sales, Roger Neary, added: “We are delighted that Tarmac has agreed to the exclusive use of HVO fuel on this key strategic route, which will deliver an important reduction in our own and our customer’s carbon emissions.

“Rail freight is already a much greener alternative to road haulage, so to reduce our carbon footprint even further will, I hope, make businesses re-evaluate their own transport strategies. If they want to reduce their own carbon emissions, then rail freight is the obvious choice over road.”

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