Powergas, Austrian firm unveil gas-fired buses

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Powergas Nigeria and an Austrian clean tech company ETEFA, have unveiled gas-fired city buses for public transport in Nigeria as part of efforts to curb gas flaring.

The initiative was introduced by the Clean and Environmentally Sustainable Transportation Programme under the Gas Flare Monetisation Projects, a strategic alliance between the two firms.

According to a statement, the introduction of the gas-fired city buses is expected to save Nigeria over $2.5bn per year by reducing fuel costs in the transportation and power generation sectors by over 30 per cent.

The firms disclosed this during a press briefing and business networking cocktail event hosted by the Commercial Counsellor of the Austrian Embassy, Guido Stock, with the support of the Austrian Development Agency in Lagos.

In his welcome address, the General Manager, Powergas, Sumeet Singh, said the company was committed to 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 foreign exchange reserves,” he said.

According to Sumeet, if all the gas being flared in Nigeria  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 and particulate emissions).

The Chief Executive Officer, ETEFA, Johann Rieger, explained that CEST Programme’s targets included improving environmental and health conditions by reducing emissions, lowering the cost of public and commercial transportation, and 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 compressed natural gas 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 said.

He explained that Powergas would provide the necessary infrastructure for supply of CNG while ETEFA would supply highly efficient gas engines and associated technology.