IRELAND'S new green bus made Cork its first port of call yesterday with a trial run from the city to Ringaskiddy.
Travellers on the route became the first in the country to ride the biomethane-powered bus as a viable alternative to current public transport. The biogas vehicle comes under the umbrella of a national trial honing in on 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. The initiative will bring Ireland in line with other European cities now running their buses on gas to promote lower carbon emissions and better air quality.
The trial run was carried out in conjunction with Energy Cork and Cork Chamber, who have been campaigning for a move to alternatively fuelled technologies.
It saw passengers collected from Lapps Quay in Cork city driven to the SFI funded Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI) in Ringaskiddy where passengers heard from leading gas and algal biofuels researcher Professor Jerry D. Murphy on the research and focus of the ongoing work.
EU deadlines to reduce harmful greenhouse gases will put an end to the purchasing of diesel buses for public transport from July 1, 2019.
Energy Cork spokesperson and Cork Chamber Public Affairs Senior Executive, Michelle O'Sullivan has welcomed the move.
“Energy Cork has been advocating the benefits of adopting compressed natural gas and biomethane for our public bus fleet in Cork for a number of years, so we are delighted to be making a journey today on Ireland’s first zero carbon emissions bus," she said.
"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."
The Energy Cork Transport Sub Group, which brings together Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Gas Networks Ireland, Bus Eireann, Cork Chamber and other regional stakeholders, has been working closely to garner support for green bus routes throughout the city and county.
Following the success of Drive4Zero, which incentivised Cork commuters to switch to electric cars, Energy Cork believes that green buses are vital to the sustainable infrastructure and development of Cork in the future.