A NORTHWICH engineer has become the first gas man with a gas-powered van.

Cadent's John McGuire is the first to road test an Iveco fuelled by 100 per cent renewable gas – thought to be an industry-first trial.

John, who repairs and maintains Cadent's extensive underground network of mains pipes, fills up his 4.2-tonne van with compressed natural gas near Crewe railway station.

Research shows an 84 per cent drop in carbon emissions in HGVs run on CNG biomethane – gas made from the nation's waste – rather than diesel.

Northwich Guardian:

John, who has worked for the company for 23 years across Cheshire and into Shropshire and Flintshire, said: “It’s great to drive and great that Cadent is taking a good look at this for its fleet of vans. I’m all for finding ways to reduce our environmental impact.

“The PTO (power take off) on this van makes it much quieter, which will make a big difference for our customers – particularly when we may need to carry out emergency work late at night in built-up residential areas.”

A second CNG van trial is expected in the west Midlands next year, before a third in north London.

Dominic Stephens, fleet officer at Cadent, said: “As a business we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and tackling other environmental issues such as air quality – so we’ve been looking at alternatives to diesel.

Northwich Guardian:

“Gas has already been shown to be a cheaper, cleaner, greener alternative fuel for HGVs. Research into HGVs fuelled on CNG biomethane, directly supplied from Cadent’s gas network, at Leyland in Lancashire, showed an impressive 84 per cent reduction in carbon emissions compared with diesel.

“With the recent rapid expansion of CNG refuelling stations – we already have seven directly fed by our gas network – CNG could become a viable alternative for the smaller vehicles in our fleet.

“Over the next year, we’ll be testing the vans for carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions and looking at fuel cost savings. However, we have already found that the CNG vehicle is notably quieter than the diesel equivalent.”