While Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and buses account for only 4 per cent of vehicles on Ireland’s roads, they account for 30 per cent of all emissions in the road transport sector.
As Ireland’s transport emissions continue to rise, we face significant challenges to meet our emission reduction targets.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for transport is one of the key gas technologies in Gas Networks Ireland’s Vision 2050 document, developed in partnership with parent company Ervia, which outlines a pathway to reducing Ireland’s total carbon emissions and creating a net zero carbon gas network.
Gas Networks Ireland is leading the development of a new, cleaner transport network, to support Ireland in achieving its carbon reduction targets and to give Ireland’s fleet operators sustainable energy options.
About Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
CNG is a proven alternative to diesel or petrol which can lower transport costs and reduce carbon emissions depending on the vehicle size, payload and route type. Switching from diesel to natural gas in transport can deliver immediate environmental benefits.
CNG is natural gas which has been compressed to fit into a Natural Gas Vehicle’s (NGV) tank and is particularly suitable for use in commercial vehicles. There are an estimated 26 million NGVs in operation worldwide, and almost two million in Europe. The number of NGVs registered in Ireland has more than doubled in the last year.
Gas Networks Ireland’s vision is to develop a network of 150 filling stations throughout Ireland in the coming years. The Government’s National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) 2021-20301 also recognises the role of CNG in transport and has listed the development of the CNG fuelling network to support the uptake of CNG vehicles.
With the development of nine additional public CNG stations underway, Ireland’s HGV and bus operators can now choose a cleaner fuel alternative.
In August 2019, Gas Networks Ireland and Circle K launched Ireland’s first publicly accessible, fast-fill CNG station at Circle K’s Dublin Port premises, as part of Gas Network Ireland’s Causeway Project.
Ireland’s second publicly accessible, fast-fill CNG station at Circle K’s Cashel premises is now open. Strategically located at Junction 8 off the M8 motorway, the station has the capacity to fill 50 HGVs a day with each fill taking no more than five minutes. Two additional stations at Ballysimon Road, Co. Limerick and Clonshaugh, Co. Dublin are also nearing completion and will open later this year.
Earlier this year, Gas Networks Ireland entered an agreement with Applegreen to develop two publicly accessible, fast-fill CNG stations in Portlaoise and Tipperary, commencing in Q1 2020.
The two stations will be located along the M7 motorway, accessible from both directions of travel, with one at Applegreen’s forecourt in Midway, Portlaoise at Exit 17 and the other located at Junction 27 at Applegreen’s premises in Birdhill, Co. Tipperary. Other potential sites are currently in discussion.
Panda (part of the Beauparc group) plans to commission 45 NGVs as part of their new ‘green fleet’ over the next three years. The move is the first of its kind for a municipal waste operator in Co. Dublin and is part of the company’s commitment to reducing its emissions and carbon footprint across its operations.
Gas Networks Ireland is working with Panda to develop two publicly accessible, fast-fill CNG stations in Co. Dublin, one on the southside in Ballymount near the N7 and M50, and the other on the northside in Finglas close to the N2, M50 and M1. It is expected that both sites will be operational in early 2021.
Virginia International Logistics
Gas Networks Ireland is working with Virginia International Logistics (VIL) to develop a private CNG station at VIL’s premises in Virginia, Co. Cavan. Gas Networks Ireland will install, maintain and operate the CNG equipment. Development on the project is underway with the CNG station expected to be in operation by the end of 2020.
In October 2019, VIL became the first haulier in Ireland to complete a zero carbon HGV delivery to Europe. The trucks were fuelled by Compressed Renewable Gas (CRG) throughout the 1,121 km round trip, delivering a consignment of processed beef from Liffey Meats in Ballyjamesduff to Caen in Northern France.
Achieving zero carbon transport
In addition to CNG, the use of CRG in the same vehicle results in ultralow or zero carbon transport.
Locally produced renewable gas is now flowing onto the network at Gas Networks Ireland’s purpose-built injection facility in Cush, Co. Kildare. A second gas injection facility is currently in the planning process in Co. Cork.
These facilities will supply renewable gas for Ireland’s growing CNG fleet to switch to CRG – a carbon neutral renewable gas for transport.
The Causeway Project
The Causeway Project led by Gas Networks Ireland has represented a significant step forward in delivering a sustainable alternative fuel for Irish transport. The development of the public refuelling stations, renewable gas injection facility and deployment of the CNG fleet has demonstrated the validity of CNG as a viable alternative to diesel for Ireland’s transport operators.
This project is supported by a grant from the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility Transport Fund and the Gas Innovation Fund, approved by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). Research is being co-funded and conducted by project partner, the National University of Ireland Galway.
1. Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (2020) – National Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030.
Gas Networks Ireland
T: 1850 411 511