Buckinghamshire Council has inked an electrification agreement with Lunaz to upcycle its fleet of waste refuse trucks.
The move will support 300 highly skilled clean-tech jobs in Silverstone, England, with each upcycled electric vehicle (UEVs) saving 82 per cent of the embedded carbon versus replacing with new diesel vehicles.
The first 26-tonne refuse truck to become fully electric will be converted from its existing diesel power to electric, with delivery to be made in the autumn. The work is being funded with a grant from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs).
All Lunaz vehicles are completely stripped down and all components inspected, up-cycled and replaced as required. This includes the removal of the current diesel engine and replacing it with a fully electric drivetrain. The cab, driver functions and bin-lift equipment will also be fully refurbished and upgraded to latest technological and safety standards.
This week, Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire Council’s cabinet member for climate change and environment oversaw the delivery of the first diesel refuse vehicle to the team at Lunaz’ HQ on the Silverstone Technology Park. He said: “This is a very exciting moment for Buckinghamshire Council and a big milestone in our journey to cutting our carbon emissions and meeting our climate change strategy ambitions.
“It marks the first step in our desire to run a more sustainable fleet of vehicles by using a renewable energy source and has multiple additional benefits including improving air quality and saving money both in terms of cheaper everyday running costs, and the retention of more than 80 per cent of the embedded carbon versus scrapping an existing vehicle and replacing with new.”
Benefits of upcycled electric vehicles
In April 2023 Lunaz signed a seven-year fleet electrification programme between Biffa, the UK’s leading sustainable waste management company and Lunaz confirming a commitment to allocating a significant proportion of its 1,110 vehicle per year production capacity.
Upcycled electric vehicles represent a saving for taxpayers with more than £1 million in public money saved for every 20 vehicles upcycled and electrified versus buying new EV equivalents.
The British economy further benefits as Lunaz is pioneering growth in circular practices at a critical time by supporting more than 300 jobs and a new, green capability. At full capacity, Lunaz’ factory in Silverstone, UK, will save the equivalent weight of the Eiffel Tower every year in embedded carbon by upcycling rather than scrapping existing fleet vehicles.
Lunaz’s ‘1 for 1’ policy ensures the decommissioning of every fossil fuel engine before recycling its components. This practice ensures existing polluting engines are completely eradicated and replaced with clean-air equivalents.
The waste management industry is at the frontline of a requirement to reduce carbon emissions from road logistics. According to a report by the World Economic Forum ‘for the industry to limit temperature increases to no more than 1.5 degrees centigrade, two-thirds of trucks sold this decade must be zero-emissions.’
However, this must not come at the cost of scrapping millions of perfectly serviceable vehicles, in doing so increasing the carbon burden in waste and the manufacturing process.
The Lunaz electrification approach, in line with the principles of the circular economy, answers this and also creates major economic benefits. An UEV can represent a significant total cost of ownership (TCO) saving versus either existing diesel equivalents or new EVs. This accelerates the adoption of clean air vehicles by creating a more economically viable route to fleet transition.