During the two-week trial, the local authority moved road salt from Co Tipperary using a truck fuelled by compressed renewable gas.
According to Gas Networks Ireland, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and buses produce around 30pc of the country’s road transport carbon emissions despite only accounting for 4pc of vehicles.
In 2019, Cavan company Virginia International Logistics became the first haulier in Ireland to complete a ‘zero carbon’ HGV delivery to Europe.
Now, Kerry County Council has become Ireland’s first local authority to trial a carbon-neutral truck powered by compressed renewable gas.
The truck was supplied by Scania dealers T Nolan and Sons in Castleisland, and uses compressed natural gas (CNG) supplied by Gas Networks Ireland. During a two-week trial, Kerry County Council used this clean transport to move road salt from Co Tipperary.
Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Patrick Connor-Scarteen, said transport is one of the hardest sectors to decarbonise.
“We are delighted to do our bit in Kerry and trial trucks powered by renewable gas as a viable option to reduce our fleet emissions.”
Gas Networks Ireland’s CNG programme delivery manager, Declan O’Sullivan, added: “We are delighted that Kerry County Council has joined companies around Ireland in experiencing the emissions and cost savings associated with using both natural and renewable gas in HGVs.”
Gas Networks Ireland has also announced a €2.9m CNG vehicle grant scheme, which will support the purchase of up to 400 gas-powered trucks, buses and vans.
The grant will cover 20pc of the difference between CNG and diesel-powered vehicles, capped at €5,000, with a maximum of €60,000 available to any one applicant. Grants can be used towards the costs of vehicles registered from 2020.
The scheme is co-financed by the European Union’s TEN-T Programme as part of Gas Networks Ireland’s Green Connect Project. This project includes the planned delivery of 21 new CNG stations, four renewable gas injection facilities and four mobile CNG refuelling stations to support the decarbonisation of Ireland’s transport sector.
Using CNG can reduce HGV emissions by around a fifth, according to Cenex. But as the volume of carbon-neutral renewable gas on the national network increases in the future, fleet operators that have already switched to gas will be in a position to reduce their carbon footprint further.
“Renewable gas, which is entering the gas network today, enables carbon-neutral transport, as CNG vehicles operating on natural gas today are future-proofed for renewable gas,” said O’Sullivan.
“By delivering a network of CNG filling stations and enabling the introduction of renewable gas to the network, we are supporting hauliers and fleet operators to make a sustainable switch to a carbon-neutral fuel.”