By Sebastine Obasi
Major cities in Nigeria will soon witness the introduction of gas-powered buses, which is expected to save the country over US$ 2.5 billion per year by reducing fuels costs in the transportation and power generation sector by over 30 per cent.
The concept is a product of the Clean and Environmentally Sustainable Transportation Programme under the Gas Flare Monetisation Project, a strategic alliance between Nigeria’s biggest compressed natural gas, CNG distributor and pioneer in “virtual gas pipeline supply.”
POWERGAS and the Austrian clean technology company, ETEFA which have introduced gas-fired city buses for public transport. Speaking to journalists in Lagos, the General Manager, Powergas, SumeetSingh reiterated the company’s commitment to positively contributing to the clean environment of Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria’s annual diesel importation is the same as the natural gas being flared.
“We know that diesel imports are US dollar dependent, hence increasing the cost of fuel and decreasing the country’s scarce forex reserves.
“Natural Gas on the other hand is one of the most environment- friendly energy sources. With abundant reserves of 188 tcf (Trillion Cubic Feet), Nigeria has the largest gas reserves in Africa. As a domestically available natural resource, effective utilisation is extremely important for import substitution (of liquid fuels) and forex savings.”
Gas flare reduction programme-sponsored projects can clean and process flare gas into natural gas, along with other by-products like Propane, Butane, LPG, etc.”
According to Sumeet, “As a company, we believe that if all of Nigeria’s gas flare is captured and processed, it can power up to 200,000 city buses (public transport) or 200,000 trucks (commercial transport), or even double Nigeria’s power generation capacity while significantly improving the quality of the air (lower carbon & particulate emissions). Introduction of gas-fired city buses for public transport would significantly lower ticket prices for passengers. This would, especially have a positive impact on the lower income populace who spend up to 40 per cent of their monthly income on public transport.”
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer ETEFA GmbH, Johann Rieger, explained that CEST Programme’s targets include improving environmental and health conditions by reduction of emissions, lowering the cost of public and commercial transportation, while fostering local talent employment with technology transfer and strategic knowledge sharing.
According to Johann, in order to show the full potential of the economies of the CNG city buses, ETEFA developed together with leading European partners a high quality 12-meter CNG City Bus prototype for the special needs and infrastructure requirements in Nigeria. The prototype is currently built, and local testing shall start with strategic local partners mid-2019. He explained that Powergas will provide all the necessary infrastructure for supply of flare gas based CNG, while ETEFA will supply highly efficient gas engines and associated technology. The buses are expected to especially fulfil Euro 5 / EEV emission standards and European norms in economics and sustainability with a targeted lifespan of a minimum of 15 years, low operating costs and costs of investment close to the level of Chinese buses.
“ETEFA is ready to support local manufacturers with transfer of technology to manufacture this world class buses in future under license directly in Nigeria. Depending on test results and respective orders, local serial production could be started by one of the well-established car manufacturers in Nigeria already in 2020.
“This will create additionally hundreds of high skilled working places in manufacturing and maintenance of buses, and support local partners to build a sustainable, cost efficient and clean transportation platform in the country and dramatically reduce damages to the local environment and health of people.”