“Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is effectively natural gas that has been compressed to high pressures. We take a gas supply from the network, we filter it and then meter it. We push it through an inlet gas dryer to remove any moisture from the gas before it is compressed up to pressures of 250 bar. From there it’s stored in low, medium and high banks. When a vehicle arrives at the CNG dispenser the priority panel determines the pressure required to fill that vehicle and it pulls it from the storage system,” explained Julie McGrath, CNG Commercial Engineer at Gas Networks Ireland.
“It’s a much cleaner fuel than diesel. It has roughly 22% less CO2. 70% less nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide and, significantly, 99% less particulate matter. It’s also a cheaper fuel – about 35% cheaper than diesel currently – and the government has confirmed that a set duty will apply to CNG for the next 8 years.
“It’s not a new technology – it has been in existence for decades and there are over 19 million vehicles operating on CNG worldwide.
“When we have renewable gas injected into our natural gas network we will be able to offer a completely renewably transport fuel to hauliers or anyone wishing to purchase it as a fuel source through a CNG pump.”
McGrath then detailed what the network would look like: “Currently we are looking at the development of a national network of 70 fast-fill CNG stations installed in Ireland by 2027. And 27 of these stations will be public access stations while 43 will be private refuelling stations. The public access stations are congregated around the cities, the ports, and along the major motorway and road networks throughout the country.”
“We are also targeting vehicles. We have targets of over a thousand trucks to be converted to CNG and also a thousand buses, and we are also looking at vans.
“Converting a thousand buses in Dublin to CNG would mean that public transport in Dublin would be zero carbon.”
“The Causeway Project is a study and deployment project to look at the impact of increased levels of CNG and renewable gas on the operation of our existing transmission and gas distribution networks in Ireland. Fourteen fast-fill CNG stations will be deployed along with one renewable gas injection facility,” McGrath explained.
[caption id="attachment_37778" align="alignleft" width="217"] The Causeway Project[/caption]
The project will also support a vehicle fund for up to 35 dedicated natural gas vehicles. The study has also been funded by the European Commission under the Connecting Europe facility. We are currently rolling out this project, and will be until 2020.
“There are lots of CNG vehicles available to the market at the moment, particularly trucks, buses and vans. There is increased efficiency, range and performance in the latest vehicles being introduced. We can see a lot more companies such as Reading Bus in the UK adopting CNG vehicles for their fleets. There are over 3400 stations currently in operation throughout Europe, and over 1.3 million vehicles.”