The Valle de Aburrá, in the middle of the Central Cordillera of the Andes in Colombia, breathes better air today thanks to the region’s commitment to natural gas vehicles (NGVs). Last week the community celebrated reaching 35,000 NGVs, half of which are public service vehicles. “Without a doubt the natural gas is the cleanest of all fossil fuels. That is why in Medellín, in the hands of Empresas Públicas de Medellin (EPM), important decisions have been taken to promote its use, and reaching 35 thousand vehicles is a clear example that we are on the right path,” said the General Manager of EPM, Federico Restrepo Posada, at an event to celebrate the milestone. “Each vehicle equipped with CNG represents a valuable contribution to the health and welfare of our communities,” he added.
EPM, Medellín’s residential public utilities company, says that if not for the use of natural gas vehicles, the air in the metropolitan area would be receiving more than 1.6 tons of particulate matter (black smoke) from motorized transport, 162 tons of sulfur oxides, 1,054 tons of benzene (added to gasoline to increase octane) and 14 tons of volatile organic compounds. All are pollutants that affect the health of the population, mainly children and elderly. Particulate matter attacks the respiratory system, and sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds produced conditions in eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Benzene is highly toxic and carcinogenic effects and its impact on the central nervous system.
Financial savings are equally significant. Users of CNG vehicles mobilized savings achieved over 50% compared to other fuels.
EPM has also committed to natural gas vehicles for people and goods transportation. To date, 156 EPM vehicles are qualified to use CNG, increasing by 23 before year-end.
Following the example of EPM, other companies based in the region are working to convert their transport fleets to CNG. For example, TCC, a transport company for delivery of merchandise, has converted 11 of its 20 diesel trucks to natural gas.
EPM is also supporting zero-kilometer conversions without loss of guarantee on the new vehicles. 20% of new vehicle sales are conversions.
Growing with the number of NGVs is the network of fuelling stations; 58 stations are operating in this region, including 55 in the Valley of Aburrá. EPM is foraying into other cities outside of the Medellín metropolitan area to promote the use of natural gas and to create green corridors along intercity routes.
Metroplus S.A, the region’s mass transit system, is leading the way in the use of natural gas. It was the first region in the country to make this decision.
(This article compiled using information from an EPM press release)