BUS EIREANN HAS just introduced its first natural gas-powered bus.
The bus was launched by the Minister for Public and Commuter Transport, Alan Kelly, TD, who said the trial may help reduce fuel costs and benefit the environment.
The natural gas-powered city bus is operating across a number of routes in Cork until August in a trial that will examine the potential fuel and emission savings from the vehicle, as well as its performance.
The trial is being undertaken in partnership with Bord Gáis Networks.
Bus Eireann said that the use of natural gas-powered buses “results in significantly improved air quality in cities”. It said that studies have shown that they reduce emissions such as nitrogen oxides, sulphur and soot, which affect health, especially heart and respiratory systems.
Plus, natural gas-powered buses also provide savings in fuel costs – some European cities see reductions of up to 50 per cent in fuel costs compared to diesel.
There are over 320,000 natural gas-powered buses in operation globally in cities such as New York, Madrid, Verona and Barcelona, while there are over 14.5 million natural gas vehicles (NGVs) being used worldwide.
The Eco-city bus is made by the company MAN. It is refuelled through a refuelling unit based at the Bus Éireann Capwell Road depot in Cork.
Deputy Kelly commented:
This trial is an excellent initiative by Bus Éireann that has the potential to help towards the country’s target of 16 per cent of energy consumption coming from renewable sources by 2020 and increase our energy security. It is also great to see two semi-State companies working together on a project that could ultimately benefit communities and the country as a whole.
Martin Nolan, CEO of Bus Éireann, said the pilot is one of a range of energy management initiatives the company is undertaking to help the environment and reduce our costs.
John Barry, managing director of Bord Gáis Networks, said that they believe there is an opportunity for natural gas-powered vehicles in Ireland “and we are working with Bus Éireann and others to facilitate the development of a NGV industry”.
After the trial is completed, Bus Éireann will evaluate the performance of the vehicle.If it proves successful, the company will look to purchase more gas-powered vehicles for use – subject to funding being available.