Sheffield trials waste-powered electric bin lorries

City repurposes four vehicles

Credit: Sheffield City Council

Sheffield City Council is trialling the use of electric refuse lorries that are powered by the rubbish they collect.

The authority is to deploy four repurposed diesel vehicles that have been equipped by local specialist firm Magtec with rechargeable battery packs. The lorries will be charged (a process pictured above) at Sheffield’s Energy Recovery Facility – where electricity is created via the processing of rubbish disposed of by the city’s residents. 

One vehicle is now on the road, and the others will follow over the coming weeks. Funding for two of the vehicles was provided by £220,000 awarded to the council via a £2.6m scheme run by Innovate UK. The other two lorries – all of which are designed to produce zero carbon emissions – are being funded by separate Innovate funding supplemented cash provided by a coalition formed of six partners.

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Councillor Mark Jones, cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: “This is an amazing, innovative project that puts Sheffield and the region at the forefront of green technology. Using local expertise, we are piloting a new repowered 26-tonne bin lorry which is powered by the electricity produced by the waste it collects. We believe we are the first local authority ever to do this, putting Sheffield at the forefront of the green energy revolution.”

He added: “Our city is working hard to deliver clean air and green jobs. We are rightly proud of projects such as this alongside our own proposals for a clean air zone to cut nitrogen dioxide. I’m looking forward to seeing this bin lorry and another set to be delivered soon powering up Sheffield’s hills and leading the way for a new approach to tackle climate change and poor air quality.”

Innovate UK also provided funding for Westminster City Council in central London to refit two former diesel lorries as electric battery-powered vehicles.

Councillor Tim Mitchell, cabinet member for environment and city management, said: “Poor air quality is a major concern to Westminster’s residents. We hope that this initiative by the council will encourage other large vehicle operators to convert their fleet to low-emission vehicles.”


Sam Trendall

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