In a “small-scale” experiment, FedEx Express Europe began using renewable diesel in part of its Netherlands-based linehaul truck fleet earlier this month, the company announced.
Heavyweight, long-distance trucks are running on the fossil fuel alternative when they leave the recently reopened FedEx Express road hub in Duiven, Netherlands. The fuel is derived from organic matter or waste materials.
“While technological solutions are still being developed to help the industry transition away from using fossil fuels altogether, we can already make decisions to influence and reduce our scope one carbon emissions in our linehaul truck network – those generated by our owned vehicles,” Vinay D’Souza, FedEx Express Europe senior vice president of planning and engineering, said in a statement.
The logistics behemoth plans to transition its parcel pick-up and delivery operation to a fully electric fleet by 2040. But decarbonizing heavyweight transportation is more challenging.
“The required mileage range, time needed to refuel, and the fact that, by the very nature of their operation, heavy goods vehicles travel between territories means they often require refuelling in multiple countries,” FedEx said in the Nov. 14 news release.
The renewable diesel program is limited to the Netherlands, where it is encouraged on the continental routes, according to FedEx.
FedEx’s pledge to achieve global carbon-neutral operations by 2040 includes all company-owned and operated transportation, including parcel pick-up and delivery, European linehaul trucking and aircraft. Scope 3 emissions, generated by FedEx’s outside transportation contractors, are also included in the effort.
“By demonstrating support and adaptation of diesel alternatives, FedEx is striving to make alternative fuels more viable, scalable, and ultimately accessible across the industry, as solutions to decarbonise challenging transportation sectors in Europe,” the company said in the release.
Renewable diesel is one of several diesel fuel alternatives the industry is exploring to lower emissions. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks account for only 4% of all vehicles on the world’s roads, but they account for 40% of all road transport emissions and one-third of total transport fuel use, according to the Climate Group.
FedEx isn’t alone in venturing into renewable fuel. Last week, Penske Truck Leasing expanded a renewable diesel partnership with Shell to fuel its truck rental and heavy-duty leasing fleet. All vehicles filling up at Penske Truck Leasing's 32 fueling locations in California will run on renewable diesel.
UPS is betting on renewable natural gas as its future fuel of choice because of its availability, seamless integration into the natural gas system and emission profile. In 2019, the company ordered 6,000 RNG trucks, the last of which were set to arrive this year.