After deciding that we would be making our zero waste shop mobile, our discussions quickly turned to the topic of fuel. As an environmentally conscious business we knew that our fuel choice would be an important one and so we took the time to research all the options available.
Of course, our initial thoughts were of a zero-emission, electrically-powered van (that or a cool old-school Citroen!). However, the electric vans available at the time of our research either did not have the capacity to hold all of the bulk products we planned to provide, or were unavailable to us due to the costs involved (even when considering the Government grants). We also had concerns around the battery ranges when considering the distances that we would be travelling across Cornwall, the weight of product going into the van, and also available charging points. Bearing all this in mind it became apparent that a zero emissions van would sadly not be a viable option for us.
Our attention then moved to alternative fuels such as CNG (compressed natural gas) and hydrogen, both offering environmental benefits when compared to diesel. However, availability was proving to be an issue. We struggled to find a supply of bio-methane CNG or hydrogen available in Cornwall. We also considered LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) where availability was less of an issue but our research told us that while it offers a CO2 saving when compared to petrol, the CO2 per km emissions are similar to diesel.
These findings finally lead us to consider petrol vs diesel. In spite of the recent negative publicity around diesel, our research showed that whilst petrol vans have come along way, they are more suited to city-based businesses with lower mileage, with diesel vans being more fuel efficient than petrol when covering larger distances and with heavier loads. We ruled out older, emission-heavy diesel vans (no cool old-school Citroen for us) and instead looked into newer vans that had the Euro 6 engine, with Euro 6 legislation helping to reduce harmful gases in the air and combat climate change.
Having considered all of the fuel options in detail whilst also factoring in the requirements to run a reliable mobile shop we finally decided on a Peugeot Boxer 2.0 BlueHDi. Peugeot's latest generation of fuel and environmentally efficient Diesel engines include a three stage cleansing process specifically targeting the pollutants of diesel combustion, removing hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, reducing nitrogen oxides by up to 90% and eliminating 99.95% of particulates.
Although a zero-emission vehicle proved not to be a viable option for our business, we believe our final choice continues to reflect our commitment to the environment. Our engine emits 163g CO2 per km driven currently but we are looking into a Bio-diesel that will help reduce this by 28% (tailpipe emissions are unaffected but as a renewable fuel made from used cooking oil the saving comes from looking at the fuel life cycle). At present there is not a supply in Cornwall but we are continuing to look into this and will keep you posted.
And finally...we are following up with local Cornwall initiatives to plant native trees to help off-set our CO2 output - lookout for updates and more information in future Incredible Blog posts!