In 2017, Stadtwerke Augsburg (SWA) (DE) was awarded the “International busplaner Sustainability Award” for its positive example in reducing the particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions of the city’s bus fleet. The busplaner magazine, which organises the competition, praised the decision of Augsburg to opt for natural biogas buses using compressed natural gas (CNG).

Since 1995, SWA has been a pioneer in providing alternative driving technologies for local, public transport. At the time, Augsburg was a national model city for the use of CNG as fuel. “Our focus has already been on a sustainable management in all of our business segments: energy, water and transport, for quite some time,” commented SWA co-CEO Alfred Müllner. Following this path, the entire SWA bus fleet shifted to bio-natural gas made from agricultural waste in 2011. As a result, all the 91 SWA buses have been CO2 neutral for more than 5 years. This is a strategic choice as Augsburg buses emit about 95% less nitrogen oxide and almost zero soot particles in comparison to buses that use diesel engines. This success story continued into 2016 with SWA deciding to commission 23 new Mercedes-Benz Citaro natural gas buses with newly developed engines for an even lower fuel consumption and more environmentally friendly impact.

The day of the award ceremony, busplaner editor Julia Lenhardt stated,“We would like to commend this exemplary sustainability in the omnibus segment. The fact that bio-natural gas as a fuel is also a driving technology for the future is proven by the many fact-finding visits to Augsburg from other transport companies and the countless invitations SWA received for lectures on the subject across Europe. In the overall balance, nothing can beat bio-natural gas buses in the coming decades – not even electric buses.

Like SWA’s success story, similar initiatives to help improve the ecological footprint of public transport are underway, as it is the case in Helsinki, but this is another Bioenergy-Day story…

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