Alternative vehicle fuels – exploring a topical topic

Yesterday (27th April) our Associate Director, Dr Cherie Whiteman, presented at the CIWM Midlands Centre open meeting in Blaby, Leicestershire. The meeting addressed a topical subject of much current interest – the use of alternative fuels for waste collection. Cherie gave an overview of the main alternatives to diesel, including benefits, challenges and current examples for each of the following: electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen/diesel hybrid, natural gas and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). This was based on market intelligence gained through FRM’s recent research for the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) on a worldwide survey of the use of alternative fuels for waste collection purposes, the report is due to be published over the next month or so – watch this space!

Interesting and topical presentations were also given by Niqui Smith from ULEMCo, who discussed converting diesel RCVs to dual fuel with hydrogen; Simon Routledge from Biffa, regarding the experiences in Greater Manchester with electric vehicles; and Trevor Nicholl from St Helens’ Council, talking us through their journey towards alternative fuels, particularly the hydrogen fuel cell RCV due to arrive in September. It was great to hear the views from these speakers as leaders in the field.

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The open meeting concluded with a tour of Blaby District Council’s environmental services depot, with a chance to see a shiny new electric RCV from Dennis Eagle, the eCollect. Some of us were lucky enough to experience a short ride in the around the depot forecourt – it is amazingly quiet, with impressive acceleration! This is reported to lead to an enthusiastic reception from drivers and collection crew who appreciate the quieter working environment and earlier finishes as a result of the more responsive vehicle.

The CIWM Midlands Centre holds an array of meetings throughout the year, a great opportunity to network and keep up to date with industry developments. If you’d like to find out more, see CIWM Midlands.

For a chat about alternative vehicle fuels or all things municipal waste management give us a call on 01746 552 423 or email

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