Forecourt of the Future
The brand new Certa Liffey Valley site in Clondalkin is being described as the ‘forecourt of the future’ – IF&CR finds out why?
It was a soft opening on a green field site at Liffey Valley shopping centre. Between B&Q and Tesco, the forecourt of the future gently opened to the public – no fanfare needed. Confidence in its format, the brand new Certa site came to fruition just 13 weeks after work commenced.
Step one – a plot of land was secured, now a 24 hour pay@pump forecourt is thriving – and initial feedback has been extremely positive – especially as there was clearly high demand amidst the busy outer-city retail hub.
Certa’s Head of Retail Operations Grace Cunningham explained the thinking behind the new format – and why it’s set to be the shape of things to come across Ireland.
The focus is on HVO as an available, affordable alternative fuel – although petrol and diesel are still also available.
Grace explained “It’s the first fully fledged HVO forecourt for Certa. There’s signage to let customers know that HVO is available and is given equal status to petrol and diesel.”
Any diesel car can use HVO – there’s no need for any adjustments to the car – just pull up, fill up, pay and go.
The site is 100% cashless too – entirely contactless or bank card operated.
The new forecourt is the first of its kind in Ireland – open to all types of vehicles – trucks, vans to cars. Many haulage brands are already using HVO – and Certa’s own fleet is 100% HVO.
“Our aim is to have a pool of similar sites around Dublin. We also plan to grow the HVO offering across the network, to give customers the option,” explained Grace.
“We have a supply of HVO ready and available.”
The new Liffey Valley site has three pumps – HVO, petrol and diesel – with HVO having equal billing.
“There are two fast EV chargers – our first for the network,” said Grace “There’s also a rollover carwash and jet wash, air, vac and water services on site.
“There are 66 solar panels on the canopy – using PV power and adding to the green credentials of the site – even the car wash has partial reclaim system’’
“Anything we could do to reduce emissions and make the running of the site as green as possible has been done.”
Certa Liffey Valley is a flagship prototype for Certa’s aims and ambitions across the country. This brings the number of Certa pay @ pump sites to 42.
Certa is completely focused on driving forward the green agenda – all its own vehicles run on HVO. It’s a viable, smart alternative to diesel for people who want to do their bit towards reducing emissions.
“It’s a middle ground for those who don’t have an EV – now they have the option to go HVO, and it will be rolled out around the country to our other Certa sites.”
With a thirteen week window to complete the site – most of the hard work was behind the scenes in the planning and pre-planning before work actually began.
“The majority of work was done underground – we had to get the infrastructure in place first. The planning process was quite long – but once we got underway, it took thirteen weeks to bring to fruition. Meeting safety requirements was an important part of the tendering process too, and all construction activity on site was also fuelled by HVO exclusively”
The site was opened on 19th September – and feedback from customers in the area has been outstandingly positive.
“Customers were crying out for this at Liffey Valley – there was nothing like it available in the vicinity. The site is close to the M50 – where there are few fast chargers.
The location is perfect – a shopping centre facility, high motorist throughput, a major motorway adjacent (at Junction 7), and on the outskirts of the main city.
The focus is also on convenience – making the time on the forecourt as swift as possible, with no queues due to people spending time in store.
“There’s nothing quite like it in the area, so it’s precisely what customers are looking for. All the retail options are available from the shopping centre where there is a large Tesco and so on – so here, people want to fuel and move forward, fast.”
Certa has a long standing relationship with Tesco and that’s set to continue.
“The Tesco loyalty scheme is linked, so people can get their Tesco Clubcard points every time they use the forecourt. We know that’s important to customers.
“The loyalty card scheme has been working very well for both businesses since 2021, and we recently extended offering Clubcard points to all of our home heating customers as well. The extra savings matter a lot to people – as well as convenience.”
Confidence is increasing in HVO – and it’s about getting the message out there. Certa will continue to make its sites as energy efficient as possible – with solar panels planned elsewhere.
“When people use the pink pump for HVO, the pink label – it means they are reducing their carbon emissions by up to 90%. That’s an important message we want to get across,” explained Grace.
“There is a host on site at Liffey Valley, answering people’s questions – or they can be re-directed to the website to see the FAQs on HVO. For example, the EV chargers are not linked to any particular app – so it’s open to all cashless customers.
“Their role is two fold – to make sure all customers are safe, and that everything is working as it should be.”
“There’s an educational piece of work to be done, and that’s already underway.”
It all aligns with the Irish government’s Climate Action Plan – and Certa has its own targets as the company is part of the DCC family.
Certa Liffey Valley is the flagship forecourt of the future – and the concept will now be rolled out across other sites. It’s an accomplishment to be proud of and has given Grace Cunningham an important project management role.
Grace joined the company in 2021 – in the midst of Covid – following completion of the parent company DCC’s graduate placement programme and taking a permanent position in Certa’s UK facility. A graduate of commerce from UCD and a Masters in Marketing from the Michael Smurfit Institute, she was ideally placed to grasp the opportunity that the position at Certa in Ireland afforded. Just two years on, she’s trailblazing the new format for Certa, as part of the company’s wider team.
The Certa Liffey Valley site is the first of many – and will be pivotal in getting the message out there – that HVO is a viable alternative fuel for Ireland – a fuel for the future.