Bus Eireann is trialing the country’s first natural gas-powered bus in a move that may help reduce fuel costs and benefit the environment. The natural gas-powered city bus is operating across a number of city routes in Cork until August in a trial that will examine the potential fuel and emission savings from the vehicle, as well as its operational performance. The trial is being undertaken in partnership with Bord Gais Networks.
The use of natural gas-powered buses results in significantly improved air quality in cities. Studies have shown that they reduce emissions such as nitrogen oxides, sulphur and soot, which affect health (especially heart and respiratory systems). Natural gas-powered buses also provide significant savings in fuel costs. In some European cities, reductions of up to 50 per cent in fuel costs are achieved compared to diesel.
Natural gas-powered buses are an established technology with over 320,000 natural gas-powered buses in operation globally in cities such as New York, Madrid, Verona and Barcelona. In addition, there are over 14.5 million natural gas vehicles (NGVs) being used worldwide.
The Eco-city bus from manufacturer MAN runs on natural gas and is refuelled through a refuelling unit based at the Bus Eireann Capwell Road depot in Cork.
“Travelling by bus and coach is already one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel and natural gas-powered buses have the potential to deliver further energy efficiencies. This pilot is one of a range of energy management initiatives that we are undertaking to help the environment and reduce our costs,” says Martin Nolan, chief executive of Bus Éireann.
Following the completion of the trial, Bus Eireann will evaluate the performance of the vehicle and if it proves successful, the company will look to purchase gas-powered vehicles for use on publicly subvented services subject to funding being available
The Minister for Public and Commuter Transport, Alan Kelly TD, pictured alongside Alan Connolly and Maeve Cashman, both aged 10 from Blackrock inCork, launching Bus Eireann’s trial of the country’s first natural gas-powered bus.