Biomethane is one of the potential alternatives being explored by Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to power the urban bus fleet in Dublin and Cork cities.

Ireland has committed to no longer purchasing diesel-only buses for the urban public bus fleet from July 2019.

In preparation for this transition, a series of trials were run to test full electric, hybrid electric, hydrogen and compressed natural gas/biogas buses.

The buses were trialled on routes in Dublin and Cork on weekday afternoons and evenings up until March of this year.

Natural gas

In response to concerns raised by recently elected MEP Mick Wallace about the use of natural gas, Minister for Transport Shane Ross said the fossil fuel was only being considered as a pathway to incorporating biomethane.

Minister Ross said development of the anaerobic digestion industry, which produces biomethane, had the potential to provide benefits for both the transport and agricultural sectors.

The south Dublin native said growth of this indigenous industry would improve national fuel security and assist Ireland in meeting its emission reduction targets in 2030.

Zero-emission fuels

Under an EU directive that will shortly enter into force, from 2025 onwards over half of the urban buses purchased in Ireland must deploy zero-emission fuels or technologies.

Minister Ross said the ongoing low-emissions bus trials would form a key part of the deliberations to determine the future direction of bus procurement in the short and medium term.

For this reason, he said it would not “rule in favour or against any particular alternative fuel or technology in advance of these deliberations”.

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