A clear vision is an essential component of city planning, and for Lima, the capital city of Peru, this envisioning process is underway at present. What sort of city do Limeños want and expect fifteen years from now? Whenever considering city needs, one essential element must be included — transportation — and in Lima, natural gas fueled vehicles are seen to be very much part of its future.
Three specialists recently shared their projections for Lima in 2034 in environment, transport and industry. One of those, Pedro Gamio, consultant and former Deputy Minister of Energy, says that Lima’s transport sector could save an average of US $4 billion over the next 15 years if it only uses vehicular natural gas.
This fuel is 57% cheaper than gasoline and 50% less than diesel. In Lima, there are some 200,000 vehicles that run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). In addition, today the 600 Metropolitan buses and other public transport lines such as the Red Corridor, work with this resource, the cleanest and most economical of fossil fuels.
According to information supplied by INFOGAS for the end of April 2019, 281,194 vehicles have now been converted to CNG operation in Peru, of which 277,338 are recorded as being active (not deregistered).
“After almost 15 years of natural gas exploitation in the country, Peru’s penetration rate is still very low at only 15%, while Bolivia reaches 41% and Colombia 65%. That is to say: we can make better use of our resources”, Gamio says. In Peru, there are proven reserves of natural gas sufficient for the next 30 years, which means that all public transport could be supplied without fuel problems provided the fuel supply network is improved.
Fuel price is not the only advantage. The fuel that is chosen for the vehicles affects the health of all Lima residents. Diesel and gasoline powered urban transport are the main cause of air pollution in Peru, contributing to cardiovascular, pulmonary and cerebrovascular diseases, lung cancer and premature deaths.
As for all countries, sustainable fuel is the goal, preferably through the increased use of renewable fuel such as biomethane (renewable natural gas). For developing countries, however, the massive investment cost needs to e spread over several years. Patricia Iturregui, a consultant in environmental law, considers fossil-based natural gas a bridge to that change.
“An urgent measure is to change public transport to natural gas, the least harmful fuel of all. This has been established by the Fuel Nullity Index, issued by the Ministry of the Environment, from which it is expected that the most polluting fuels pay more taxes and the cleanest, less,” says Professor Iturregui. The specialist says natural gas, despite being a transitional fuel, is for now the most effective way to achieve cleaner air.