New rail emissions technology – developed by the University of Hull’s Logistics Institute – was one of the solutions that was highlighted during a Belgian royal visit to the UK.
HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium, who led a Belgian economic mission to the UK to strengthen the economic ties between the allied countries, attended an event where a number of cooperation agreements were signed between UK and Belgian companies. With more than 400 participants, 214 companies and organisations and four days of activities in the Greater London Area, this mission was one of the largest ever organised by Belgium.
Barrie Louw, operations manager at the Logistics Institute at the University of Hull, attended the ceremony at which a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Institute and partner, Ovinto, in the presence of Her Royal Highness. He said: “It was wonderful to be part of this ceremony, highlighting the strength of collaboration between the most innovative Belgian and UK companies.”
The Logistics Institute at the University of Hull has developed the Railfreight Energy and Emissions Calculator (REEC) which will transform the way energy and emissions for rail freight transport can be analysed.
The Rail Energy and Emission Calculator (REEC) has been developed with funding support from the Department of Transport, through the “First of a kind” programme, managed by Innovate UK.
The calculator considers delivery specificities such as route gradients, track speed limits and locomotive performance specifications to allow a very precise computation of exact emission of any rail freight transport journey in the United Kingdom.
Barrie Louw said: “Working with Ovinto will help us to make the unique and innovative features of REEC available to a wider user base in the UK and in Europe. This will help to highlight the environmental advantages of rail freight transport and provide a tool to reduce emissions even further in an intelligent and responsible way.”
Andy Parkinson, CEO of Lampada Digital (the wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Hull that will bring REEC to market) said: “Reducing transport emissions is a key part of how the world will achieve Net Zero. The expansion of the Rail Energy Emissions Calculator into Europe could play a pivotal role in how the rail freight industry reduces its climate impact at scale.”
Frederick Ronse, CEO of Ovinto, who signed the memorandum of understanding with the University of Hull, and its wholly owned subsidiary Lampada Digital Solutions, said: “This MoU will allow us to offer an additional service to our customers that they are actively looking for. Scope 3 emissions are becoming an important subject, and a potential accelerator to choose rail freight transport instead of road transport, as rail deliveries reduce the carbon footprint by 76% percent per ton kilometre.”
Ovinto is an add-on SaaS platform, filling the gaps in existing software for rail and intermodal freight. One of the gaps identified by rail freight actors is the need to compute their scope 3 emissions – i.e. the exact emissions per ton product caused by the delivery to their customers.
During the Belgian royal visit, Princess Astrid also met with the Prince of Wales to discuss the Belgian economic mission. The visit included seminars on issues like sustainable cities, business and human rights, and the implementation of the trade and cooperation agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.The Princess visited the UK as part of the Belgian Economic Mission to the United Kingdom from 9 to 12 May 2022.