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GP: Deployment of CNG buses and LPG boats in Venice - Italy PDF Print E-mail

This measure focuses on increasing the number of CNG buses in the public transport fleet and on introducing LPG in private boats in the Venice lagoon.

Objectives / Innovative Aspects

To increase the number of clean energy efficient vehicles that run with natural gas in the public transport bus fleet, thus increasing the attractiveness of public transport as a whole and reducing polluting emissions.
Considering the average standard met by the fleet running in the City of Venice territory, the introduction of 106 natural gas buses and minibuses will have a great impact on modernising the fleet.

To introduce cleaner fuels in the fleet of pleasure craft used by private citizens in Venice historical city centre and surrounding lagoon.
This will take place through fostering a four-year plan of conversion to LPG of the ambitious share of 20% (amounting to some 4,000 boats in absolute value) of the fleet of pleasure crafts used by private citizens in Venice historical city centre and surrounding lagoon, thus bringing about CO2 and air pollutants (particularly HC, VOC, PAH) emission reductions, as well as water pollution (due to petrol spilling) abatement implied by the use of an alternative motor fuel in a highly sensitive environment.
Whereas conversion kits, as well as factory-made LPG marine engines, are quite easily available on the market at a reasonable cost, and despite the strong economic appeal of the use of LPG as a motor fuel, the penetration of such an alternative fuel in marine engine applications is still slow.

The main reasons for this are substantial lack of information among possible users and absolute lack of the proper distribution infrastructure, i.e. LPG (dedicated) refuelling stations. This measure is innovative in that it specifically targets the removal of these barriers.

The Measures

CNG buses:

Outside of CIVITAS but as an inherent part of this project, ACTV intends to introduce 60 new natural gas powered buses in its fleet by the end of 2006. CIVITAS permits the company to broaden its natural gas powered fleet beyond these 60 buses through the conversion of further 35 buses to natural gas and the acquisition of 5 natural gas minibuses for park & ride services.
This expansion of the fleet is accompanied by a broadening of the necessary refuelling infrastructure.

LPG boats:

Phase 1: start-up phase, the field test of 10 pilot boats aiming at a full demonstration of the reliability of LPG as a nautical fuel under standard use conditions.
Five demonstration boats will be fitted with new LPG-fuelled outboard motors (to our knowledge, Mercury is the only manufacturer which currently makes available such special versions of its motors on the market). The other five demonstration boats will be fitted with petrol-to-LPG conversion kits for inboard motors (Lovato Gas is recommended as the leading European manufacturer of such conversion kits). Needless to say, in both cases a new tank for LPG will be installed, too.
The introduction in Venice lagoon of such a demonstration fleet will be timely combined with the opening of 4 LPG-dedicated refuelling stations. Such stations will be located at 4 strategic sites in Venice city centre and lagoon, in order to satisfactorily meet the expected demand for alternative fuel, i.e. without imposing that environmentally conscious users cover too far a distance for refuelling their tanks.
The stations will be managed by private companies on a complete market basis. This implies that no subsidies at all will be granted for the ordinary running of the stations.

Phase 2: scaling-up of the project, aiming at involving in the strategic project of conversion to LPG an ambitious target of 20% of the existing pleasure craft fleet ( some 20,000), i.e. a target of some 4,000 boats converted over the 4 year project duration.
The deployment of the proposed alternative fuel will be fostered by awareness-raising and with the project partner Assonautica Veneziana, the local boating associations, combined with a grant scheme designed to cover up to 25% of the cost of the conversion kit or 25% of the extra cost for a factory-made LPG-fuelled new engine.
In order to avoid financially expensive and market-distorting subsidy schemes, such grants will be managed in the form of a revolving fund.
It is worth noting that these two policy levers implemented by Venice Energy Agency via the Civitas II proposed project combine with the extremely sound economics of the use of LPG (which in fact costs 50% less than petrol). This will act as a powerful driver of the conversion process. Indeed, the pay-back of the incentive granted as well as of the extra cost borne by the users will be secured by the saving in the running cost made possible by a cheap fuel.

Phase 3: project evaluation and dissemination to similar contexts, with particular emphasis on pleasure craft fleets operated in lakes and rivers in Italy and throughout the EU, i.e. the most ecologically-sensitive environments, thereby adding on an invaluable “double dividend” effects to this fuel shift action information campaign, run by Venice Energy Agency (Civitas II project participant) in cooperation.

Implementation status

Actions managed by ACTV.
In relation to the Mobilis Project two buses using conventional fuel have been transformed by PHT Srl company into buses using dual fuel (diesel and natural gas) in order to empirically verify their functioning and highlight any potential problems;
It was decided as a result of these tests that the purchase of new CNG buses is more economically viable than the conversion of the buses. As a result, 35 new CNG buses have started operating since February 2006.
The tender procedure for the CNG distributor in the bus deposit in Via Martiri della Libertà has been done and now the CNG filling station building is proceeding.
The preliminary study for the connection to the Italgas natural distribution network has been completed and Italgas is now preparing the executive project. The contract for the gas supply between the City of Venice and Italgas has been renewed.
Italgas is analysing the area in order to decide the location of the gas pipes.
Italgas is going to call for tenders in order to choose the supplier by the end of 2006.
As regards the minibuses (Milestone 5.5 V-5, delivery month 24), the call for tender has been closed in September; however there have been no bids satisfying the technical conditions requested by the company.
Therefore the tender procedure will be repeated and there will be a time lag of three months in the completion of work.

Actions managed by AGIRE.
Incentives have been put in place for first demonstrative LGP-fuelled motors for privates. The first refuelling station has been completed and material for info-surveys on citizens using LPG has been prepared. On-the-spot surveys for possible locations of LPG-dedicated refuelling stations have been carried out.
Some private operators intend to open, and then manage on a market basis, 4 Lpg-dedicated refuelling stations, and they are ready to co-finance the installation of the necessary equipment. This means that the support of AGIRE is rather to be seen as a part-contribution to the investment made by the private operators.
Some possible future projects have been prepared with Croatian LPG Association and Croatian private companies that are developing marine LPG technology at the moment.
AGIRE has monitored the first LPG engines in private pleasure crafts and has cooperated with ASSOGASLIQUIDI (Italian LPG Association) to obtain by Ministry of Transport new regulations for LPG in boats.
Agire has participated to the 7th International Venice Floating Show: leaflets: stands, press conference, conference and workshop “GPL per la Laguna”, presentation at the opening of the Floating Show.
The funding programme for private owners implemented and co-funded together with Region Veneto has been defined.
A.G.I.R.E. has proposed to the EC a change in its budget because it has decided to finance the LPG filling station with the Veneto Region financing and to use the Mobilis financing for a new sub-action dedicated to working on the transferability of the action from Venice to the rest of Italy, and the capacity building of other organisations interested.

(Expected) results

CNG buses:
A reduction in emissions from the ACTV bus fleet, which should result in total abatement in kilograms per vehicle as follows:
CO HC Nox PM10
N° 60 new buses 82.500 5.730 114.840 5.214
N° 30 converted buses 55.000 220 28.160 616
N° 5 mini buses 6.875 108 2.175 99
TOTAL 144.375 6.058 145.175 5.929

LPG boats:
To foster a four-year plan of conversion to LPG of the ambitious share of 20% ( circa 4,000 boats ) of the fleet of pleasure crafts used by private citizens in Venice historical city centre and surrounding lagoon.


The above project is part of the CIVITAS - MOBILIS initiative

CIVITAS MOBILIS partners cities of Toulouse (France), Debrecen (Hungary), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Venice (Italy) and Odense (Denmark), and their local mobility stakeholders – strive to create a culture for clean urban mobility in the framework of sustainable development, ensuring involvement of all relevant stakeholders and participation of

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