Ireland is a step closer to decarbonising the transport sector, with the country’s second publicly-accessible, fast-fill Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station, now open at Circle K’s forecourt in Cashel. Strategically located at Junction 8 off the M8 (Dublin – Cork) motorway, the state-of-the-art station has the capacity to fill 50 Heavy Good Vehicles (HGVs) a day, with each fill taking no more than five minutes.
This new station allows hauliers and fleet operators in the region to begin the journey to carbon neutral transport by switching their fuel from diesel to CNG today and ultimately transitioning to networked renewable gas in the future. Renewable gas, also known as biomethane, is the only deployable at scale, ultra-low carbon alternative fuel for use in HGVs.
Jonathan Diver, Senior Director Fuels at Circle K said: “We are delighted to unveil this latest CNG station at Circle K Cashel further strengthening our natural gas capabilities alongside our Dublin Port CNG station. Circle K has longstanding ties to the commercial transport and freight industry and a key priority of ours is supporting this sector as it endeavours to reduce its carbon emissions. We are looking forward to introducing more CNG stations on key transport routes, and, in fact, are well advanced on the development of two such stations, one in Limerick and one on Dublin, with more to come.”
“As a key stakeholder in the fuel and energy sector, we are extremely committed to working towards a low carbon future for Ireland and in addition to advancements from a CNG perspective, we will continue developing our electric vehicle charging capacity as well as looking at ways in which to make our fuel products more environmentally friendly.”
The Heavy Duty Vehicle (HDV) category of transport merits particular attention given the potentially high positive environmental impact of HDVs switching from traditional transport fuels to alternative fuels such as CNG and renewable gas. While only 4% of vehicles on Ireland’s roads are classified as HGVs and buses, they account for 30% of all emissions in the road transport sector. Ultimately, CNG provides a clear pathway for the use of carbon neutral renewable gas within the transport fuel mix. With Ireland’s first dedicated renewable gas entry point, in Kildare, now injecting biomethane into the network, renewable gas is becoming a real option for Ireland’s fleet managers and hauliers.
Ken Leahy, Distribution and Fleet Manager, at Spar operator BWG Foods, said “We have introduced 16 dedicated CNG powered HGV trucks to our fleet, which enables us to have a greener food and retail supply chain. Having a CNG refuelling station in Circle K Cashel in Co. Tipperary gives us more flexibility, range and route options. We look forward to more CNG stations opening across the country as we continue to invest in our greener fleet.”
The solutions to Ireland’s climate challenges will necessitate the successful deployment of many new technologies. Gas Networks Ireland has already begun to invest in such technologies, both to facilitate renewable gas injection into the gas network and to supply CNG from the gas network as a transport fuel source. Helping to decarbonise Ireland’s commercial transport sector, one of the hardest sectors to decarbonise, via gas in transport is a key part of the Gas Network Ireland’s vision.
Across Europe, renewable gas is being used to make transport more sustainable as well as delivering long haul reliability and cost competitiveness. There are more than 28 million Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) worldwide and almost two million in Europe. The number of NGVs registered in Ireland has more than doubled in the last year. By switching to CNG today and renewable gas in the future, the national gas network will ultimately power carbon neutral HDV transport.
Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Commercial and Corporate Affairs, Ian O’Flynn, said: “We're on a journey to decarbonising the transport sector and renewable gas has a critical role to play. CNG stations are directly connected to the national gas network and CNG vehicles are future-proofed for renewable gas. Renewable gas, which is entering the gas network today, enables carbon neutral transport. By delivering a network of CNG filling stations, we are supporting hauliers and fleet operators to make a sustainable switch to a carbon neutral fuel.”
The development of the CNG network via the Causeway Study is supported by a grant from the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility Transport Fund and the Gas Innovation Fund, approved by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). Research is co-funded and conducted by project partner, the National University of Ireland, Galway.