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24|Retail News|March 2021|

Transport & Logistics

Vehicle grant scheme to support CNG vehicles A Compressed Natural Gas vehicle grant scheme from Gas Networks Ireland is making €2.9m available for the transport and logistics sector to choose a cleaner fuel option.

CNG is natural gas compressed to fit into a Natural Gas Vehicle’s (NVG) tank and is particularly suitable for use in commercial vehicles. It is a cleaner, affordable and proven alternative to diesel, and is beginning to play a major role in Ireland’s fuel mix. Ireland’s CNG vehicle numbers grew by more than 50% in 2020, while the number worldwide surpassed 28m. However, CNG is just the first stop on our journey to decarbonising the transport sector.

GAS Networks Ireland has launched a €2.9m Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicle grant scheme to support the purchase of up to 400 gas-powered trucks, buses and vans to help drive a more sustainable transport sector. The grant will cover 20% of the difference between CNG and diesel-powered vehicles, capped at €5,000, with a maximum €60,000 available to any one applicant. Grants can be used towards the costs of vehicles registered from 2020. “I would encourage Ireland’s fleet operators and hauliers to take advantage of these additional cost savings and choose this cleaner fuel option for their vehicles,” said Declan O’Sullivan, Gas Networks Ireland’s CNG Programme Delivery Manager. “Carbon neutral renewable gas made from food and agricultural waste, which was first introduced onto the gas network in 2019, is structurally identical to renewable gas and can be used in exactly the same way through the existing infrastructure, technology and appliances. This means that as the volume of renewable gas on the network increases, vehicles fuelled by CNG will increasingly reduce their carbon footprint without needing to change a thing. Gas, natural today and renewable tomorrow, is the best alternative for the environment and the economy.”

Reducing emissions and lowering fuel costs Gas Networks Ireland’s previous grant scheme supported the purchase of 40 vehicles across 23 companies, including Virginia International Logistics (VIL). “Receiving funding helped us to purchase six NGVs, reduce emissions and lower our fuel costs,” said Ray Cole, Transport Director, VIL. “As part of our ‘Green Logistics’ policy, introducing CNG fuelled vehicles is one of the ways we are reducing our carbon footprint. The customer demand for alternate fuel transport is also increasing, as companies focus even more on having a lower carbon supply chain. Embracing CNG also contributed to VIL being previously awarded International Haulier of the Year and Irish Haulier of the Year at the Fleet Magazine Awards.”

The benefits of CNG The journey to cleaner HGVs and buses, which make up only 4% of vehicles on Irish roads but generate 30% of Ireland’s road transport emissions, is challenging, because not only is the sector responsible for a disproportionate amount of transport emissions, but electricity is not a viable alternative to diesel in fuelling these long-haul vehicles. CNG can reduce HGV well-towheel emissions by up to 23% (Source: Cenex 2019) compared to diesel and deliver cost savings for operators of up to 35% (Source: Cadent 2016).

CNG refuelling network Gas Networks Ireland is developing a CNG refuelling network in partnership with Ireland’s forecourt operators and hauliers. There are CNG refuelling stations located at Circle K’s forecourts in Dublin Port and Cashel, with two more set to open in 2021 in Dublin and Limerick, another under construction in Cavan and a further eight in planning and development. Three private CNG stations are also in operation. The Department of Transport is set to announce its own scheme, the Alternatively-Fuelled HDV Purchase Grant Scheme, to further support the decarbonisation of the Irish transport sector. “It is very encouraging that the Government recognises the potential and opportunity for alternatively fuelled vehicles,” added Declan O’Sullivan. The CNG Vehicle Fund is co-financed by the European Union’s TEN-T Programme under the Connecting Europe Facility as part of the Green Connect Project. Applications are now being accepted at

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