Ireland faces a considerable challenge to meet its emission reduction targets, particularly in the transport sector, as it currently accounts for 42% of Ireland’s energy use. This makes it the country’s largest source of energy demand and also one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonise.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), dependably delivered through the Irish national gas networks, is the first step towards net-zero commercial transport and sustainable supply chains in Ireland thanks to its lower GHG emissions compared to traditional fuels.
Some of the benefits of CNG include:
- Reduced carbon emissions
- Cheaper than petrol/diesel
- Increased availability of bioCNG – greener
CNG is natural gas that has been compressed and stored at high pressures (over 200 bar) and is usually used as a transport fuel. It is particularly suitable for use in commercial vehicles where electric solutions are not a viable option. The gas used can be either natural or renewable gas that meets the network specifications, providing a pathway to more sustainable transport.
Ireland’s network of CNG stations
Gas Networks Ireland is working to expand the number of CNG stations in Ireland. This cleaner transport network provides Ireland’s Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) and bus fleet operators with a cleaner alternative fuel option to diesel.
There are currently four Circle K forecourts that can supply CNG to Irish hauliers: Ballysimon Road, Limerick; Cashel, Co Tipperary and Clonshaugh and Dublin Port in Dublin. These four were constructed as part of the Causeway Project. Each station has the capacity to fill up to 50 HGVs a day, with each fill taking no more than five minutes.
The Causeway Project was developed to kick-start the market and to build the first public stations in Ireland. There is now a pipeline of additional public CNG stations progressing through the design, planning and construction project phases.
Gas Networks Ireland expects to have five more operational by 2024.
BioCNG: carbon neutral fuel
In November 2022, Gas Networks Ireland and Circle K took another step forward in reducing emissions from Ireland’s transport industry by dispensing BioCNG at the four CNG stations.
BioCNG is carbon neutral biomethane gas which is compressed to fit into a vehicle’s tank and is available for HGVs at the same Circle K’s forecourts.
Ireland’s commercial transport fleet makes up just 3% of vehicles on the road nationwide yet is responsible for approximately 20% of transport’s carbon emissions. HGVs operating with high blends of BioCNG can greatly and increasingly reduce their carbon emissions.
Taken at Circle K’s forecourt in Clonshaugh, Co Dublin – Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Business Development, Karen Doyle, and Circle K’s Senior Fuels Director, Jonathan Diver; with Panda driver, Pavel refuelling with BioCNG at Circle K Clonshaugh. As part of its commitment to reducing emissions and carbon footprint across its operations, Panda’s green fleet is fuelled by BioCNG.
Sustainable supply chains
There is rising demand from the transport sector for more decarbonised customer supply chain solutions. Being able to offer a lower-carbon transport solution is a strong differentiator for any business and it establishes a focus on sustainability when tendering for new business. With almost two million CNG vehicles across Europe, indications are that growth in Irish fleet operators adopting CNG vehicles as an alternative fuel option will continue.
from farm to freight
Structurally identical to natural gas, biomethane is a carbon neutral renewable gas that can be made from farm and food waste through a process known as anaerobic digestion.
Biomethane is fully compatible with the national gas network and existing appliances, technologies and vehicles. It can seamlessly replace natural gas to reduce emissions in heating, industry, transport and power generation, while also supporting the decarbonisation of the agri-food sector.
Gas Networks Ireland first introduced domestically produced biomethane into Ireland’s gas network more than three years ago.
To prepare for increased biomethane connections and injection, Gas Networks Ireland is developing a coordinated gas network plan, which will outline the development of the gas network to bring biomethane to over 720,000 homes and businesses across the country in the most efficient and effective manner.
Biomethane – locally produced
Biomethane injected into Ireland’s gas network can be transported to forecourts which have a CNG refilling station. Where the biomethane is certified by an EU Voluntary scheme as meeting the sustainability and greenhouse gas reduction criteria set out in RED II, it is fully renewable. Additionally, as a zero-emissions fuel in the transport sector, it qualifies for the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RFTO) operated by the National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA).
Gas Networks Ireland’s Renewable Gas Registry tracks the allocation of the biomethane from the point of injection into the grid to the point of withdrawal at individual refuelling stations. A Proof of Origin certificate issued by the Registry completes a mass-balance check between injection and withdrawal from the grid.
There is significant scope for biomethane production in Ireland. With the European Commission identifying Ireland as having the highest potential per capita to produce biomethane, it will also play a major role in Ireland and the EU’s commitment to becoming an energy-efficient, low carbon economy. An indigenous biomethane industry would not only support the decarbonisation of the agricultural sector, but it would also provide significant opportunities for rural communities and facilitate sustainable circular economies.
Growth Sales Manager for CNG and Renewable Gas
Gas Networks Ireland