Upcycled electric bin lorries making refuse collection cleaner

BERLIN: Refuse trucks belching diesel fumes as they collect wheelie bins are common the world over but many could be replaced by upcycled electric versions which are much cleaner.

British-based Lunaz, which also electrifies classic cars, has teamed up with the Biffa waste management firm to upcycle its older vehicles.

The diesel engines are replaced with electric propulsion which ensures serviceable older vehicles are upcycled instead of scrapped as Biffa transitions its fleet to zero-emissions powertrains.

Each upcycled electric vehicle (UEV) will emit zero tailpipe emissions and save 21 tonnes of embedded carbon versus replacing with a new vehicle, said Lunaz.

Battery power is ideal for bin lorries which cover pre-set and shorter routes than regular trucks and do not need to be burdened with the extra cost and weight of an over-specified battery-pack.

While electric bin trucks are an increasingly common sight in wealthier cities around the world, diesel trucks being repurposed for electric mobility is still rare.

Scrapping millions of diesel-driven refuse trucks around the globe will only increase the carbon burden in waste and the manufacturing process, says Lunaz, calling for vehicles to be repurposed instead.

The company said its circular economy approach represents a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) saving versus existing diesel equivalents or new EVs, creating an "economically viable route to fleet transition."

"By working with Lunaz to meet our goal of buying no more fossil fuelled vehicles by 2030 while breaking the replace-with-new cycle, we pioneer an approach in this industry that saves millions of tonnes in embedded carbon," said Maxine Mayhew, Biffa's COO for collection & specialist services.

Biffa has placed an initial order of up to ten 26-tonne UEV refuse trucks, saving up to 210 tonnes in embedded carbon.

"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," said Biffa.
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