July 17, 2012. Bus Eireann has just introduced its first natural gas powered bus. The vehicle was launched by the Minister for Public and Commuter Transport of Ireland, Alan Kelly, 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.
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.
Kelly said 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 energy security. He added that 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.
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.