Stadtwerke Augsburg (swa)  has received the “International busplaner Sustainability Award 2017” for its role as a positive example in reduction of particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions. The busplaner magazine, a trade journal published by the Huss Verlag, praised the use of natural gas buses using compressed natural gas (CNG) in Augsburg.

“Our passengers can rest assured that they are using an environmentally friendly means of transport when using our buses,” commented Dr. Walter Casazza, swa co-CEO on the presentation of the award. The swa vehicles therefore do not contribute to the current high levels of particulate matter in the city. “Particulate matter is not an issue when using natural gas fuel,” added Casazza.

The entire swa bus fleet has been powered by bio-natural gas from agricultural waste since 2011, which means all 91 swa buses are CO2 neutral. The result is about 95% less nitrogen oxide emissions and almost zero soot particles in comparison to buses with diesel engines. “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. “We would like to commend this exemplary sustainability in the omnibus segment,” stated busplaner editor Julia Lenhardt.

This year’s International busplaner Sustainability Award goes to 13 companies from the bus and tourism sectors for their outstanding contributions to sustainability. The award is being presented for the third time in 2017 and for the second time with a special category for “Omnibus Companies with Sustainable Management”. Stadtwerke Augsburg is ranked first in the “Public Sector” category, ahead of Hamburger Hochbahn and Kölner Verkehrsbetrieben.

Swa has been a pioneer in the area of alternative driving technologies for local public transport since 1995. At the time, Augsburg was a national model city for the use of natural gas (CNG) as fuel.

The bus fleet has since been gradually switching to natural gas fuel, with the entire fleet operating on CNG since 2010.

Last year, swa commissioned 23 new Mercedes Citaro natural gas buses with a newly developed engine for an even lower fuel consumption and is even more environmentally friendly than the natural gas engines being used to date.

“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 we get to Augsburg from other transport companies and the countless invitations we get for lectures on the subject across Europe,” commented Casazza. In the overall balance, nothing can beat bio-natural gas buses in the coming decades – not even electric buses.