A SELECT group of bus travellers in Cork were the first passengers to ride a ‘green bus’ in Ireland when they took a recent trip to Ringaskiddy.
With zero carbon emissions, the biomethane-powered bus is a viable alternative for Ireland’s public bus fleet, and the biogas bus has been part of national trials looking at green bus performance, air quality impacts and CO2 emissions, among other criteria.
Biomethane is a clean, renewable gas that is 98% methane. Also known as green gas, it can be used interchangeably with conventional fossil-fuel natural gas, meaning it can be added to the existing gas grid. The majority of European capital cities now run their buses on gas, resulting in lower carbon emissions and better air quality in cities.
On board for the country’s first carbon neutral bus journey were members of Cork Chamber, Energy Cork and the Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI) centre.
They travelled to MaREI centre in Ringaskiddy where they got insights from leading gas and algal biofuels researcher Professor Jerry D. Murphy on the research and focus of the work ongoing.
Unlike the diesel buses currently in operation, this bus runs on renewable gas, and its journey will have a zero carbon emissions footprint. Gas Networks Ireland believes that the future of public transport in Ireland will be based on renewable gas, using waste from the agriculture and food industry. Notably, the SEAI has concluded that 25% of the gas used in Ireland could be sourced renewable gas.
Michelle O’Sullivan, Energy Cork spokesperson and Cork Chamber public affairs senior executive: ‘Never has the demand for public transport been greater in Cork with the city centre expecting an additional 10,000 jobs in the next five years. We have the opportunity now to shape how we grow and be proactive in adopting technologies that work for the City and which protect our environment and air quality. This technology is tried and tested with examples of biomethane bus fleets in Stockholm, Lille and Nottingham to name just a few cities. We are very keen to see this technology supported by the National Transport Authority and hope to see these buses rolled out in Cork in the not too distant future.’
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has been carrying out technology trials of hybrid diesel, fully electric, electric hybrid, compressed natural gas (CNG) and biomethane powered buses in Cork and Dublin in recent months to review performance. The green buses have been travelling key routes in the urban bus transport network, but until now have been weighted rather than carrying passengers.