Spain: Pamplona says goodbye to diesel, adds first renewable gas buses

Spain: Pamplona says goodbye to diesel, adds first renewable gas buses

The Commonwealth of the Pamplona Region (MCP) presented 13 buses powered by CNG with Renewable Guarantee of Origin (GdO) that will form part of the fleet of the Regional Urban Transport (TUC). The new Scania vehicles are C340 CASTRO New City, seven of them 18-meter articulated and six 12-meter rigid. The latter have already joined the fleet while the articulated ones will do so during August.

These buses are the first natural gas buses to be added into the fleet after the MCP approved the II TUC Less Polluting Energy Plan in 2021 for the progressive replacement of polluting buses. Consequently, the MCP will no longer incorporate more diesel buses and begins to progressively abandon this fuel, which was used uninterruptedly as a propellant for the TUC fleet since the start-up of this service in 1929, more than 90 years ago.

The abandonment of diesel and the incorporation of new buses powered by renewable gas fulfills a double purpose: on the one hand, the new buses will be “clean vehicles” without affecting the quality of urban air, anticipating the delimitation of the Low Emission Zone of Pamplona and, on the other hand, they will be “carbon neutral” since when using gas with a guarantee of renewable origin, a fuel equivalent to an equal volume of biomethane injected into the network will be consumed. With this important step, the MCP is heading towards its general objective of being ‘Carbon Neutral by 2030’, being the first local entity in the state to use gas from renewable sources as fuel for buses.

In addition, over the next few years it will be the MCP that will generate its own biomethane, both from the sludge from the Arazuri WWTP, and from the treatment of organic matter from urban waste in the new Imárcoain Environmental Center. This project is part of the circular economy policies at a local scale, so that this biomethane originating from the waste of the Pamplona Region serves as fuel for the heavy vehicle fleets of the Commonwealth: TUC buses, waste collection rucks and the maintenance vehicles of the Integral Water Cycle.

The MCP also inaugurated a CNG station, located in the outer field of the TUC garages that will allow the new buses to be refueled. The system obtains gas from the Nedgia network, Naturgy’s gas distributor, and stabilizes the pressure before raising it through the compressors to 250 bars. The gas is then distributed to a storage area. Two refueling points were enabled: one in the refueling area in the outer field and a second pump next to the entrance to the bus parking area. It is estimated that the average refueling time for each bus will be about 4 minutes and the autonomy of the vehicles will be approximately 300 km.

“On the one hand, we are fully involved in the fight against climate change by abandoning the purchase of vehicles with fossil fuels and, on the other, we improve air quality by adopting a fuel such as natural gas that has much lower particle emissions,” said the President of the MCP David Campión.

The General Director of Transport and Sustainable Mobility of the Government of Navarra Berta Miranda also highlighted that “the incorporation of these new vehicles, as well as the infrastructure to refuel them, marks a new milestone in the progressive decontamination of collective means of transport in Navarra.”

The TUC fleet now has 66 hybrid buses, six electrics and the 13 new ones powered by renewable gas, which means that 53% of the fleet is made up of environmentally efficient vehicles. In addition, they plan to incorporate 20 electric vehicles and another 12 powered by gas between 2023 and 2024, so that by the end of 2024 there will already be 115 sustainable buses out of a total of 159, 75% of the total fleet.

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