In the southwest of Colombia, gas distributor Gases de Occidente (GdO) reports twenty one new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses will join the fleet of Masivo Integrado de Occidente (MIO), operators of the mass transit system in the city of Santiago de Cali. The delivery of the new buses is planned for mid 2019.
The entry into operation of these 21 vehicles puts the city at the forefront in the use of clean technologies in mass transit systems, as in other cities in the country, contributing to the improvement of air quality and the health of the people of Cali. The transition to CNG buses has been made possible in collaboration with GdO and the company Blanco y Negro, demonstrating the interest and commitment of the business sector to contribute to the development and sustainability of the city.
Colombian Cities are Embracing Natural Gas Buses
In Bogotá, for example, the decision was made to include 740 natural gas buses out of a total of 1,400, more than 50% of the fleet. Medellín made the decision to migrate to clean technologies with natural gas since 2011, while Transcaribe in Cartagena is thought to be the cleanest transportation system in South America with more than 200 natural gas vehicles and with a successful operation since 2016.
To this new fleet of natural gas buses for the MIO is added the experience of Tupal, in Palmira, where, since 2015, the passenger transport system with vehicles dedicated to natural gas is in operation, thus contributing to the reduction of auditory pollution and improvement of air quality.
The 50 dedicated buses (manufactured with natural gas engines) that work today in the Villa de las Palmas and with efficient performances beyond those expected, have shown that natural gas is the ideal fuel for transport systems, allowing the passer-by to everyday enjoy more quiet and clean urban spaces.
The operating costs of buses or trucks with engines dedicated to natural gas are lower compared to the use of other fuels. Savings of over 20% are estimated compared to gasoline and diesel. Likewise, there are other considerable benefits such as the lower emission of particulate material by 98%.
Vehicular natural gas is one of the most important alternatives for mitigating public health problems associated with air pollution in cities such as Cali, where 9.5% of the total deaths that occur are attributed to urban air pollution, creating a heavy health-related financial burden for the city.
Vision of a Cleaner Cali
The MIO bidding documents call for clean technologies, maximizing the number of vehicles that operate with natural gas. This advantage would give Cali the possibility of having a more efficient and cleaner transportation system. Natural gas has demonstrated its experience with passenger, cargo, light, dedicated and trash compactors in Colombia and the world.
“The joint vision that we must build is to have a city with excellent air quality, based on the use of clean fuels such as natural gas, and to follow guidelines as established in the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution Policy of the Conpes Document 2018, which addressed strategic issues such as transport modernization, air pollution risk management, improving fuel quality with the reduction of sulfur content in diesel and gasoline and the stimulation of mass public transport with clean energies such as natural gas”, says Mauricio Ramírez Terrassa, General Manager of GdO.
It should be noted that the use of fuels such as gasoline and diesel releases particulate matter, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), greenhouse gases, carcinogenic substances and heavy metals, among others.
In the Valle del Cauca department, where Cali is located, the vehicular natural gas market is one of the most dynamic in Colombia. In the last three years there have been 3,800 conversions per year and an average consumption of 101 million M3.
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