The first HGVs have landed in Ireland, over two years of planning and preparation has come to fruition, and soon the first gas will flow in the most ambitious commercial transport energy project in decades – CNG has arrived.
In January, Gas Networks Ireland announced the development of a new transport energy network – 70 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) refuelling stations located around Ireland. The new network will be aimed primarily at commercial users, giving them the opportunity to invest in a low or zero carbon fleet for the first time.
Shortly after this initial announcement, Gas Networks Ireland announced the roll out of a Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Fund to support haulage companies to invest in new CNG-powered commercial vehicles. The fund offers grants of up to €20,000 per vehicle to cover the cost of purchasing a CNG ready vehicle. The fund applies to vans, HGVs and buses.
In the intervening period, Gas Networks Ireland has begun work to roll out the CNG refuelling network. Construction is nearing completion on Ireland’s first public refuelling facility in partnership with Topaz. At the same time, Clean Ireland Recycling are in the process of bringing into operation Ireland’s first private refuelling station at their facility in Shannon.
Denis O’Sullivan, Head of Commercial, Gas Networks Ireland: “Gas Networks Ireland is building a brand new commercial transport network for Ireland. Since announcing the project in January of this year, we have already seen significant interest both from potential forecourt operators and also haulage operators. It is very clear that the appetite exists in the market for a low carbon transport energy solution.”
Gas Networks Ireland has already begun to receive applications from haulage operators who want to purchase CNG ready vehicles. A number of high profile companies have been among the first to purchase CNG ready vehicles to join their fleets.
Vehicle manufacturers have been quick to respond to the Gas Networks Ireland project, with major brands such as Scania and Iveco introducing CNG vehicles into the Irish market to capitalise on, what is likely to be, a strong take-up of the technology. CNG vehicles offer excellent fuel economy, low maintenance costs and similar ranges to diesel powered HGVs.
With many companies looking to meet internal or customer led targets for emissions reductions, there is a very clear demand in the market for a reliable low carbon alternative transport fuel. CNG vehicles offer CO2 emission reductions of up to 22 per cent, along with a 99 per cent reduction in particulate matter, when compared to their diesel alternatives. The same vehicles will also run on Renewable Gas, a project which Gas Networks Ireland is currently developing. Renewable Gas, made from
animal and municipal waste, will be 100 per cent carbon neutral.
“The development of the CNG network is a key step in terms of building a market for renewable gas. The CNG trucks that are being purchased today will be capable of running on renewable gas. This will mean companies can effectively eliminate their transport emissions. Many tenders and new business processes now include environmental performance measures, and companies realise that the move to CNG and ultimately to renewable gas, makes sound financial sense for businesses.”
In addition to HGVs and vans, CNG powered buses have been successfully trialled in Cork and Gas Networks Ireland is looking forward to engaging with public and private transport companies on the implementation of green buses. Bus manufacturers have been among the earliest to expand fleets to include CNG models, with public transport companies keen to further enhance their green credentials. Many cities around Europe have already made the switch to CNG or renewable gas as the fuel of their transport sector and have enjoyed the resulting air quality benefits that result from eliminating the fumes emitted from diesel and petrol vehicles.
A proven technology, CNG is natural gas which has been compressed to fit into a vehicle’s tank and is particularly suitable for use in commercial vehicles including trucks, buses and vans. As an alternative to diesel or petrol as a fuel for transport, it provides the greatest benefits for operators and owners of the vehicles through both the reduction of harmful emissions and the generation of considerable fuel cost savings of up to 35 per cent.
Worldwide, there are 19 million Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) in operation, and of these, 1.9 million are in Europe. Gas Networks Ireland is currently seeking sites and potential partners for the roll out of this new network. For more details, contact 1850-411-511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information on the Gas Networks Ireland Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Fund please visit the Gas Networks Ireland website: www.gasnetworks.ie/vehiclefund
The Causeway Project, supporting the installation of the new CNG network, is co-financed by Gas Networks Ireland and the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility.