NI refrigerated haulier bolsters biogas fleet in £3.1 million investment

Tuesday 28 May 2024 Northern Ireland-based refrigerated haulage business McCulla Ireland has secured a GBP3.1 million investment from Lombard for the addition of 25 new trucks to its fleet, including 11 powered by biogas, contributing to a 79% reduction in the operational carbon emissions of the haulier's Northern Ireland operation. A second-generation, family-owned business with facilities in Lisburn, Dublin and Mallusk, McCulla Ireland is a leading provider of ambient, chilled and frozen logistics and storage solutions in Northern Ireland and is the market leader for groupage coming from the UK onto the island of Ireland. The credit facility from Lombard will enable McCulla Ireland to greatly improve its operational efficiency and substantially reduce its carbon emissions, with 85% of its Northern Ireland fleet now powered by the biogas produced by an anaerobic digester plant located at its Lisburn site.

The biogas-run vehicles emit 93% less carbon than their diesel-run counterparts. Michael Gray, Finance Director at McCulla Ireland said: "For many years we have been on a mission to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels in our transport fleet, and these new biogas-run vehicles represent our latest step in completing that mission. "Lombard has been a huge support to us throughout this process, with its particular expertise and presence within the Northern Ireland haulage sector allowing us to work collaboratively to find the best solution for our business.

We look forward to continuing to work with Lombard to find new ways to make our operations more sustainable." Declan Napier, Relationship Director - Northern Ireland at Lombard, said: "McCulla Ireland is leading the way for sustainability in the haulage sector - the company has adopted a truly a full circle approach to its energy production and consumption, allowing it to reduce waste to an absolute minimum right across its supply chain. We are very pleased to support McCulla Ireland in its exemplary work, which I'm certain will inspire others in the haulage sector."

Journeys taken by McCulla Ireland's existing biogas-run fleet covered 2.4 million km in 2023 and over 1 million km to date in 2024, equivalent to a saving of 2.6 million kg of CO2. Given the success of the use of biogas in its Northern Ireland fleet, the company is currently exploring the use of biogas in its fleets at its other depots. Alternity Biogas Energy Ltd., the sister company of McCulla Ireland and part of the McCulla Group, processes food waste that is received from its customers through its anaerobic digester plant.

The GBP5 million plant and biofuel upgrading and compression facility has been integral to McCulla's drive to improve the sustainability of its operations. McCulla is the only company in the UK and Ireland operating Bio-CNG trucks using gas produced from food waste, and producing electricity via a controlled heat and power (CHP) unit to power its own carbon neutral coldstore. Its anaerobic digester plant also produces bio-fertiliser, which is supplied to local farms in a circular economy model.

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