As party to the Kyoto Protocol, the EU agreed to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by 8% below 1990 levels by the period 2008-2012. Ireland was allowed to increase its emissions by 13% over this period. By 2006 however, Ireland’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions increased by 50% (54% including international aviation) compared with 1990 levels.
Transport accounts for a large proportion of this increase, contributing to more than one third (35%) of energy related CO2 emissions, in 2006. This level continues to rise and faster than all other sectors, with transport primary energy growth in 2006 at 7.2%.
In 2007, the Government’s White Paper on Energy was launched. The paper sets out the energy policy directions and targets for Ireland up to 2020. Included in the white paper is a goal that Ireland will achieve the EU target of 5.75% biofuels market penetration by 2010.
As early as 2002, before the introduction of these targets, Cork City Council began investigating the possibility of using biofuels in its fleet of 250 vehicles. The Biofuel Programme, in which Cork City Council became involved, is part of the MIRACLES Project and is co-financed by the EU CIVITAS INITIATIVE.
Cork City Council’s fleet had been fuelled exclusively with petrol and diesel. As part of the Biofuels Programme, research was carried out to determine possible fuel types that could be used as a replacement. Following investigation, Pure Plant Oil (Rapeseed oil) was considered to be the most suitable due to the low cost of engine conversion and the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Subsequently, in May 2003, the engines of 17 vehicles were converted to make them suitable for use of Rapeseed oil as a fuel. Included in this list of fleet converted are 11 Fiat Ducatos, 4 Ford Couriers, 1 VW Transporter and 1 Izuzu Trooper.
Now, with almost 15% of vehicles using biofuel, Cork City Council has one of the largest biofuel fleets among local authorities in Ireland, and is a leader in helping Ireland realise its biofuel targets of 5.75%. Furthermore, Cork City Council proposes to increase its biofuel fleet up to 100 vehicles over the next 18 months, this will account for 30% of the whole City Council Fleet.
For more information on the Biofuel Project:Biofuel use in Cork City Council(83KB)
More information is available on the MIRACLES Project website
Plant & Machinery Dept.
Ph: 021 4924133