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Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) – Greening the Transport sector in Ireland

Barry Murphy

Barry Murphy

Commercial Director
CNG Trucks

Commercial fleets all over the world are converting from diesel fuel to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) which is a more predictable, cost-effective, and a cleaner solution for fuelling heavy goods fleets.

Here in Ireland, we are only at the beginning of this journey, the roll out of a network of public CNG fuelling stations is key to meeting the demand from transport companies.

Most European cities have implemented CNG bus fleets.  In Ireland we saw our first CNG bus trial in Cork at the end of March 2019. Hopefully, this is a major step for Ireland embracing CNG as a major driver to meeting our emission targets over the coming years.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

20% of Ireland’s total CO2 emissions comes from transport. This is the emissions from all cars and vans as well as heavy goods vehicles and bus fleets on our roads.

Of all the vehicles on the road in Ireland, 3% of these vehicles produce 20% of the emissions. These are the Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) and bus fleets. This represents a huge opportunity for Ireland to make a difference in reducing our Co2 emissions over the coming years.

CNG is a solution that can target the 17,000 HGVs and 10,000 buses currently on our roads in Ireland.

Even by achieving a 25% conversion rate from diesel to CNG there is potential to eliminate 676,000 tonnes of CO2 using renewable gas which is the equivalent to removing 360,000 diesel cars.

The European & National Policy Alternative Fuels Directive Oct 2014 states that member states need to develop policies to promote alternative fuels in transport. This directive places binding objectives on Member States to develop necessary infrastructure including publication of a National Policy Framework.

The transport fuel business in Ireland is worth €3.5 billion per year and all from imported fuels. The opportunity is to use indigenous gas that comes from Corrib as well as future renewable gas production developed in Ireland to make a major impact on reducing our carbon emissions. This way we are ensuring our transport sector plays part in Ireland reaching its 2030 emission targets.

Benefits of CNG to hauliers are; CNG produces the fewest emissions of all other fuels and contains significantly less pollutants than diesel. CNG emits 25% less CO2 then diesel. CNG is a cost effective solution and can save between 30% – 35% costs compared to diesel. This along with reduced maintenance costs as using a cleaner fuel which means that the argument to move to CNG is very strong for transport companies. 

Proven Technology

CNG is a proven technology and has seen strong growth throughout Europe over the past decade. It is not unusual to see CNG trucks across Europe and as this is an accepted form of fuel for most transport companies. Germany alone has 850 public CNG fuelling stations with many large haulage companies also having their own private fuelling stations. Fast fill CNG stations ensure that trucks can refill within 10 minutes similar to a diesel refill time.

Worldwide there are currently 19 million CNG vehicles on the road, Ireland is only just buying into the benefits of this technology. With the opening in Dec 2018 of the first public CNG fuelling station in Dublin Port we will see this change quickly over the coming years. There are ambitious plans to have a network of public CNG fuelling stations in place across Ireland and this will be driven by demand from the transport sector, Gas Networks Ireland roll out plans and government policy.

The Future

Renewable Biogas production will increase in Ireland over the coming years. Getting access to this Biogas will be of huge significance to making an environmental impact on our transport emissions. Biogas will be a key source for CNG in the coming years, as using renewable biogas will have a massive impact on emission targets for the transport sector.

As a roadmap for the transport sector, it is possible that hydrogen may become the primary fuel for transportation at some point in the future.

Ensuring strong use and uptake of CNG for transportation in Ireland now helps create a bridge to a hydrogen future.  CNG is a first step and a roadmap to this scenario.

Naturgy supplies 100% renewable energy and works with various stakeholders to ensure a clean energy future for Ireland working with our customers in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK with a renewable energy strategy that suits their business needs.

Contact the team and learn how we can meet your energy needs: info@naturgy.ie; + 353 1 884 9400.