Public transportation company MIT.BUS GmbH, located in Giessen in central Germany, has commissioned ten new vehicles powered by natural gas. All 54 vehicles in the MIT.BUS fleet now drive with environmentally friendly bio natural gas (RNG), thus ensuring cleaner air in the city.
The subsidiary of Stadtwerke Giessen (SWG) is thus setting a provisional conclusion to a project that was started in 2006. Over the past 13 years, MIT.BUS has gradually switched its entire fleet to efficient and clean engine technology. “Now we drive almost CO 2-neutral”, says Mathias Carl, Managing Director of MIT.BUS, on the occasion of the official commissioning of the ten new natural gas buses.
Speaking about his company’s long term strategy, Matthias Funk, technical director of SWG said, “We did not need a diesel debate as a trigger. Right from the beginning, we were concerned with sustainable local passenger transport.”
MIT.BUS notes that although the vehicles are a bit more expensive than conventional diesel buses in the cost of procurement, a wholistic economic analysis means they less comparative cos when considering pollutant emissions. All experts agree that sooner or later emissions will cost a lot of money.
Field test outcomes
Prof. Dr. Ralph Pütz from Institute for Applied Commercial Vehicle Research and Exhaust Gas Analysis at the University of Landshut looked at how well bio-natural gas buses compare with differently powered vehicles. He examined the various currently available drive systems – including real-time operation in vehicles of MIT.BUS. “This field test with the local route profile confirmed that the natural gas drive achieves significantly better nitrogen oxide levels than a diesel engine”, concludes the professor.
If, as in Giessen, bio natural gas flows into the cylinders, CO2 emissions sink to a minimum. The buses in Giessen still have the edge even in comparison with electric buses: “The results of our studies show that biomethane is the cleanest and most economically viable solution in the medium term. Beyond the next decade, the use of biogas in Euro VI natural gas engines remains by far the most ecologically sound and, in addition, affordable option. The technology dictatorship, which is currently revealed in the amendment to the EU Clean Vehicles Directive, scares me as a scientist. Therefore, I call for the policy of immediate return to technological neutrality on the basis of regulatory principles”, Prof. Pütz continues.
Dr. Timm Kehler, CEO of the industry initiative Future Natural Gas, says “Renewable gas buses are currently the most ecological and economical alternative to diesel, as our public transport study shows. Another advantage is the delivery time: The technology is fully mature and therefore immediately available. Cities like Giessen, which want to realize the greatest possible climate protection with their scarce funds, are therefore putting their foot down.”
Having replaced the last ten diesels with natural gas engines, Giessen now has a state-of-the-art, efficient, clean and economical bus fleet that is fit for the foreseeable future. “We’re happy about that today,” says Mathias Carl.