“CNG, and then renewable bio-CNG [biomethane], should become an integral part of government energy and transport policy” – John Barry, Managing Director of Bord Gáis Networks
Bord Gáis Éireann (Bord Gáis), a commercial energy supplier owned by the Irish State, has delivered the message that Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) can reduce fuel costs by up to 60% for businesses in Ireland, whilst also significantly reducing vehicle emissions, to over 150 transport and energy industry professionals at a Bord Gáis Networks conference this week. The conference was entitled Natural Gas Vehicles – Fuelling Ireland’s Transport Future.
“The global market for alternatively-fuelled vehicles is continuing to expand rapidly. Natural Gas Vehicles, which use Compressed Natural Gas, deliver significant economic and environmental benefits over petrol or diesel and are a market-proven technology. Switching your business fleet to Natural Gas Vehicles can result in financial savings of up to 60% on fuel usage – using vehicles and refuelling infrastructure readily available and widely used in other countries. Compressed Natural Gas, and further renewable gas, generates significantly lower emissions than conventionally-powered vehicles,” said John Barry, Managing Director of Bord Gáis Networks.
“We believe there is a viable opportunity for NGVs in Ireland and we believe our role is that of a facilitator in the development of an NGV industry. Bord Gáis Networks has a core objective to increase utilisation of the natural gas network and reduce network charges for all gas customers. We have a very modern and resilient network and plentiful supplies of gas are available, which together means there is every opportunity to grow the use of natural gas in Ireland. The pharmaceutical, manufacturing and hospitality industries have benefited greatly from the availability of natural gas and we will now seek to bring the advantages of this clean, cost effective fuel to the transport sector too. Today’s conference is the start of a process to share information and suggestions on the way forward,” Mr Barry added.
Also speaking at the Bord Gáis Networks conference today, Ronald W. Jibson, CEO & President of US gas company Questar Corporation and incoming President of the American Gas Association said: “Following the recent substantial supplies of natural gas that have been discovered as a result of the shale explorations, natural gas is poised to be at the forefront of national energy solutions in the United States and throughout the world. I commend those in Ireland who have recognised that the abundance, cleanliness, affordability and versatility of natural gas makes it a very compelling alternative for petroleum in the world of transportation. By working together, government and industry, we truly have the opportunity to create energy security in our countries. Natural gas for transportation technology provides a solution today and in to the future.”
From a European perspective, Manuel Lage, General Manager of the Natural Gas Vehicles Association Europe (NGVA Europe) spoke of the significant growth in NGVs in Europe, c.11% year on year over the past decade. Speaking on the development of an NGV market in Ireland he said, “The development of CNG as a fuel for transport in a country like Ireland, is not dependent on building a public CNG distribution infrastructure. The quickest and most effective way to introduce CNG in transport in Ireland is in urban fleets, such as buses and refuse collection trucks in first place, and then other delivery vans and trucks. These types of vehicles are typically part of large fleets and as a consequence the need for CNG refuelling points is limited to their own depots.”
There are currently 13 million Natural Gas Vehicles across the world, of which 1.4 million are based in Europe. Worldwide there has been year on year growth of 30% since 2000. This is due to a number of factors including huge advances in technology; the vehicle manufacturers producing more and more options off the production line; and the rise in traditional fuel prices. CNG significantly reduces local emissions such as Nitrogen Oxide and virtually eliminates Particulate Matter – both of which affect health. With the transport sector contributing 20.8% to Ireland’s overall emissions (Source: Environmental Protection Agency, 2009) CNG, and later renewable biogas (biomethane), offers a viable alternative to help achieve Ireland’s emissions targets. Biogas will offer further support to meet the Government’s targets of 10% renewable energy in transportation by 2020.
“NGVs are an already market-proven and readily available technology but government support is vital to their successful development in Ireland. We believe that CNG, and then renewable bio-CNG, should become an integral part of government energy and transport policy and that the assistance and the financial incentives given to other technologies, such as electric vehicles, should also be given to NGVs,” added Mr. Barry.
(This article compiled using information from a Bord Gáis Éireann press release)