Natural Gas offers up to 22% CO2 saving over diesel, 99% reduction in particulate matter and significant noise reduction
The announcement by the National Transport Authority that Ireland’s public transport fleet will begin the journey to sustainability, has been welcomed by Gas Networks Ireland. The Cork-based gas company has called on Ireland’s Public Transport operators to move towards Natural Gas and ultimately Renewable Gas as the fuel of choice in Ireland’s public transport fleet.
Ireland has expressed its intention, through a national policy position, to transition to a low carbon economy by 2050. This is covered in part by the National Policy Framework Alternative Fuels Infrastructure for Transport in Ireland 2017 – 2030. Although transport is included in overarching energy strategies, a low carbon transport sector is further underpinned by Smarter Travel: A New Transport Policy for Ireland 2009–2020, which was published by the Department of Transport in 2009. This policy set out to achieve five key goals in transport:
- Reduce overall travel demand
- Maximise the efficiency of the transport network
- Reduce reliance on fossil fuels
- Reduce transport emissions
- Improve accessibility to transport
CNG Fuelled Vehicles Will Transition to Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)
Vehicles fuelled by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) benefit from fuel cost savings of up to [40%] and offer emission reductions of up to 22% along with a 99% reduction in particulate matter, when compared to their diesel alternatives. The same vehicles will also run on Renewable Gas, which will be available on the network in 2018. Renewable Gas, produced from agricultural and municipal waste, is 100% carbon neutral and has the potential to fuel all of Ireland’s public and private bus fleet.
The Evidence of Success is Building
Gas Networks Ireland has conducted several trials of CNG powered trucks and busses in Ireland and the first CNG truck have commenced operating in the areas of waste collection and general haulage. CNG powered buses are commonplace in cities around Europe including Madrid, Rome, Malmo, Frankfurt and Warsaw. CNG buses on biomethane are already becoming the technology of choice in the UK including in Bristol, Reading and most recently Nottingham. These cities are enjoying the resulting air quality benefits that result from eliminating the fumes emitted from diesel and petrol vehicles. In 2016, both Paris and Athens announced a ban on diesel vehicles, to reduce emission levels.
Renewable gas-fuelled vehicles are currently the only technology capable of delivering a carbon neutral solution for our bus and truck fleets. As the refuelling station infrastructure is currently being rolled out, the technology is “ready to go” with some Irish haulage companies already procuring CNG vehicles in anticipation of renewable gas.
“Gas Networks Ireland is delighted with this new initiative from the National Transport Authority”, said Denis O’Sullivan, Head of Commercial, Gas Networks Ireland. “Transport emissions represent a significant challenge for Ireland. By replacing diesel engines with cleaner natural gas power and ultimately with renewable gas, we will make a major contribution to cleaning up our environment and particularly the quality of the air that we breathe. Gas Networks Ireland is already developing the network to make this happen.”
Natural Gas Fuel Network Underway
In January, Gas Networks Ireland announced the development of a new transport energy network – 70 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) refuelling stations providing high speed (same refuelling time as petrol or diesel) refuelling at located around Ireland. The new network will be aimed primarily at commercial users, giving them the opportunity to invest in a low or carbon neutral fleet for the first time.
Shortly after this initial announcement, Gas Networks Ireland announced the roll-out of a Vehicle Fund to support haulage companies to invest in new CNG-powered commercial vehicles. The fund offers grants of up to €20,000 per vehicle to cover the cost of purchasing a CNG ready vehicle. The fund applies to vans, lorries and buses. The first trucks are already on the roads in Ireland.
In the intervening period, Gas Networks Ireland has begun work to roll out the CNG refuelling network. Construction has begun on Ireland’s first public refuelling facility in partnership with Topaz. A number of additional public refuelling stations will be announced in the coming weeks. At the same time, Clean Ireland Recycling in county Clare has begun operation of Ireland’s first private CNG refuelling station at their operation in Shannon.
Benefits and Growth
A proven technology, CNG is natural gas which has been compressed to fit into a vehicle’s tank and is particularly suitable for use in commercial vehicles including trucks, buses and vans. As an alternative to diesel or petrol as a fuel for transport, it provides the greatest benefits for operators and owners of the vehicles through both the reduction of harmful emissions and the generation of considerable fuel cost savings of up to 35%.
Worldwide, there are more than 24 million Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) in operation, and of these, almost 2.2 million are in Europe. Gas Networks Ireland is currently seeking sites and potential partners for the roll out of this new network. Visit the Gas Networks Ireland at www.gasnetworks.ie.
Source: Gas Networks Ireland