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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

transport sector to go green

Green House Gas (GHG) is one of the major contributors to climate change and the transport sector is also one of the sources for GHG emissions.

Emissions have been growing mostly in the energy and industrial sector. Emissions were most significant from agriculture sector due to methane and nitrous oxide from livestock management.

Between the first GHG inventory of 1994 and 2000, emissions from energy grew at a rate of 21.4% a year, mostly due to transport and industrial growth.

Apart for mitigation options for other sectors, the transport sector also has various options. The second national communication report which will be presented at the 17th Conference of Parties at Durban in South Africa includes theses options.

The report says that transport demand management which includes proper design of urban areas and promotion of non-motorized transport are seen as an important mitigation measures for the transport sector.

“Some of the management strategies explored in the surface Transport Master Plan for Bhutan provide various options for mitigation in the transport sector,” states the report.

The report says that improving efficiency of petrol and diesel vehicles are important.

For this, vehicle emission standards have been established and import duties removed for spare parts that are essential in engine exhaust control.

Other measures taken include the check on quality of fuel imported after vehicle emissions monitoring revealed that fuel quality was one of the major causes of vehicle pollution in Bhutan.

“The import of old and second hand vehicles are prohibited in Bhutan and so far prevented the dumping of old and inefficient vehicles in the country which can increase green house gas emissions,” says the report.

The report also suggests other options like promotion of alternative fuels, electric and hybrid technologies and mass transport options.

“Vehicles running on alternative fuels are becoming reality in many countries often with less or practically zero pollutants and there are various options for reducing transport emissions in Bhutan,” states the report.

Some of the options are compressed natural gas as these gases are safe, clean and cheaper fuel for transport which will reduce GHG emissions and other pollutants.

The report says that compressed natural gas filling stations are more complex than regular fuel stations as high pressure, high cost of compressors, storage and dispensers are involved. “And so lack of reserves, infrastructure and difficult terrain may be barriers,” states the report.

Another option is the liquefied petroleum gas which is superior o petrol and diesel in terms of vehicular emissions. The emissions of vehicles running on LPG comprise 75% less carbon monoxide, 85% less hydrocarbons, and 40% less nitrous oxide. “These results in 87% less ozone depletion as compared to vehicles running on petrol,” says the report.

Bio-fuel is another efficient, environment friendly and natural energy alternative to petroleum based fuels. “Ethanol and bio-diesel can be used with a certain percent of blending in petrol and diesel vehicles respectively and can reduce emissions and improve urban air quality,” says the report.

The report also says that with abundant and cheap hydroelectricity, use of electricity for mass transport and electric vehicles for personal transport are viable options.

There are other options for mass transit such as electric trolley busses and light rail transit which are being explored through the Bhutan Urban Transport Systems Project as alternative transport systems.

“Mass transportation systems must be promoted to tackle congestion and air pollution in the major urban areas of Bhutan,” states the report.

Bhutan has been seeing a rapid growth of vehicles year after year. Today, Bhutan has over 53,382 vehicles.

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