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Sustainable Energy Conference

As part of the 2016 season of Chartered Institute of Transport seminars the Southern Section held an evening seminar dealing with the topical issue of sustainable energy and the key role Irish Transport firms have in the roll out of leading edge developments in this crucial area. Martin Howley, from Sustainable Energy Ireland, outlined statistics behind Ireland’s use of non-renewable fossil based fuels and how transport operations have reversed the trend of private motor, heating and power supply users increasing their fossil fuel usage beyond that of pre-2006 levels, while road transport has decreased its usage, taking 2006 as a base – even with our current economic recovery.

Colm Looby from Muitsuibshi Ireland outlined the benefits of hybrid and electric-only vehicles, the tax incentives and commercial incentives in Northern European countries to adapt motor and light commercials to electricity, and how European cities are eliminating fossil burning commercial vehicles in the inner city through the adaption of logistics hubs outside cities and use of electric road trains within city limits. Tax incentives effecting benefit in kind, road tolls and parking are needed here for early adaption of such vehicles.

Ian Winning outlined Cork Corporations’ use of electric vehicles and explained the key reasons behind their implementation. He described how modern electric cars and vans can be matched to meet the highest expectation of application, with examples such as Cork Fire Brigade using an electric powered rapid response unit as first responder to cardiac arrest emergencies. Speed and acceleration are crucial to the operation of the vehicle where its limited range is not an issue as its area of coverage is within city limits.

Rodger O’Connor, Research Engineer, outlined the details of Gas Networks Ireland’s strategy to introduce new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations to service commercial vehicle users. There are three crucial factors in the development of CNG for commercial use in HGVs in Ireland. Factor one is to have a network of fuelling points that are strategically placed to cater for the needs of HGVs. Compressed Natural Gas use will be on average 30% cheaper that equivalent diesel fuel. A HGV could run on CNG alone, however, the most likely combination will be a diesel/CNG mix. For this fuel to be viable, along with the need for a network of stations, technical innovation is required to makes its use in HGVs viable. And thirdly, transport operators need to be incentivised to adapt this technology; be it by the elimination of road tolls or increased capital allowances on the purchases of these trucks.

Final speaker on the night was Paddy Murphy, Managing Director of Macroom Haulage Ltd. He has converted three units in his modern DAF fleet to operate on diesel/ lpg. Overall on these units Paddy stated there is an 8% to 10% fuel cost saving, with a repayment on the conversion in less than 3 years. Paddy’s talk centred on the technology adapted in his business to maximise productivity and reduce the volume of diesel used per cubic metre carried. Being Ireland’s largest bulk load carrier, his business has been a commercial success due to its adoption of technology and work practices that now mean a 75% reduction in diesel used per cubic metre carried. Paddy stated that it was the tremendous support and backup he received from DAF Truck Services and Calor Gas that made its implementation possible.

As his business supplies Ireland’s leading horse trainers with equestrian products, Paddy says that the key to business growth is operating ultra-modern, fuel-efficient and eco-friendly units. While the main incentive for efficiency has been the bottom line, it will also have a long-term benefit for the environment. Paddy stated he trucks Calor product throughout Ireland and few road users realise he does so in trucks that are lpg powered with minimal carbon emissions.

Image: Tony Smith and Stephen Ferriter, both DAF Trucks, with Donal Dempsey, Fleet Magazine


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