DB Cargo has run the first train in the country with a zero carbon footprint by helping to fund an eco-project in Rwanda to offset the emissions.
The carbon neutral train delivered finished vehicles from Germany to DB Cargo’s London Eurohub. Calculations were made to determine how much it would cost to compensate for the emissions released during the journey. These took into account distance, weight, payload capacity, backload statistics, traction type, and fuel/electricity consumption.
The calculated cost was used to support a project in Rwanda that equips families, including those in camps for displaced people, with highly efficient firewood stoves, in partnership with the climate protection organisation Atmosfair.
Rwanda has a population density of over 390 inhabitants per km2, making it one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. The ongoing population growth is causing the demand for energy to rise. Due to lack of land and resources the supply of wood fuel is becoming more and more difficult.
The stoves use up to 80% less wood than traditional three-stone fires, easing difficult living conditions for families and providing an alternative to using increasingly expensive charcoal. Replacing charcoal also leads to even higher wood savings as 9kg of wood must be burnt to produce just 1kg of charcoal.
The project additionally supports local trade and communities as the firewood stoves are assembled by local partners, who also teach people how to use them.
The Eco Neutral train transported the finished vehicles to DB Cargo’s London Eurohub through the Channel Tunnel.
London Eurohub is the only rail linked facility of its type in the country – crucially connected to HS1 and the UK rail network. It has the ability to accommodate the unloading, storage, preparation and distribution of finished vehicles, but also offers multimodal transhipment services for all market sectors. It is co-financed by the European Union’s ‘Connecting Europe Facility’.
DB Cargo’s Eco Neutral project is available to all its customers, offering them the opportunity to offset CO2 emissions by supporting eco projects across the world.
The emissions from the customer’s rail services are calculated and they can pay to support a project of their choice to offset the emissions. As well as the work in Rwanda, examples of projects include the generation of clean electricity through wind turbines in Nicaragua or a biomass support programme in India that guarantees an environmentally friendly energy supply.
Les Morris, Head of Sales at DB Cargo UK, said: “Rail freight already offers environmental benefits, producing approximately 76% less CO2 compared to road transport. But it is important to us all at DB Cargo that we don’t stop there and continue to work in partnership with our customers to minimise the impact of operations on the environment even further. Running the first ever carbon neutral rail service in the UK is a key milestone for us and something that we will continue to build on.”