Refuse collection vehicle fleet decarbonisation

Refuse collection vehicle fleet decarbonisation

Decarbonising your refuse collection vehicle fleet


In the UK, 300 councils have declared a carbon emergency, many have signed a net zero pledge to reach zero carbon emissions by 2030, and an increasing number are introducing, or planning to introduce, clean air zones in their cities.
As refuse collection operations account for a significant portion of local authority carbon and pollution emissions, what action can you take as a fleet operator to meet your net zero targets?
Over the last few years, the UK transport market has undergone a significant and rapid shift in its approach to vehicle emissions in an attempt to respond to the pressures and opportunities linked to alternative fuels for refuse collection vehicle (RCV) fleets. There has been a transition from electric body/bin lift with conventional diesel powertrain vehicles to fully electric RCVs. Further developments in alternative fuels (including hydrogen solutions) are also now emerging.
Due to the pace of this development, stakeholders are under increasing pressure to keep track of new innovations, and recognise and understand the specific benefits of the different alternative fuels and the steps needed to successfully implement low emission vehicles.
Fleet departments need to understand the infrastructure required to support the use of alternative fuels and justify the business case for procuring assets that are double the cost of a conventional powertrain. This comes at a time when there are few UK-based commercial scale examples of alternative fuels in RCV operations that have been operating for any length of time.

Ricardo can help you to decarbonise your fleet.
Ricardo can help by assessing and understanding what these rapid developments mean for your organisation. We can answer key questions like:

  • How will policy impact our current and future operations and when?

  • What options are available?

  • What are the cost and penalty implications?

  • What are the range and infrastructure capabilities?


Our services include:


Feasibility studies

  • Needs and option assessments – modelling and comparing routes for electric or hydrogen vehicles using our ChaRM software package, which optimises charger placement on routes for electric vehicles.

  • Air quality impact assessment.

  • Refuelling strategy.

Conceptual engineering

  • Design specifications of vehicles – combining routes with digital twin simulation

Calls for tenders

  • Conducting pre-tender consultations.
  • Preparing procurement documents.
  • Evaluating tenders including the performance of electric and hydrogen options.
  • Using vehicle digital twin simulations to model RCV performance and optimise RCV specification.

Construction phases

  • Advising on retrofit conversion of existing RCV fleet.

Commission and test phases

  • Hydrogen test bed to certify performance of fuel cells.

Please get in touch using the form on this page to find out how we can help support your organisation decarbonise your fleet.

For more information on our services, download our RCV service offering pack now