The government of Cote d'Ivoire has unveiled its first fleet of buses which will be fueled with compressed natural gas to serve within Abidjan's wider urban area (Pic supplied: ENGIE)

JOHANNESBURG – The government of Cote d'Ivoire has unveiled its first fleet of buses which will be fueled with compressed natural gas to serve Abidjan's wider urban area.

In January, IVECO BUS signed an order for 400 Crossway Low Entry and 50 Crealis 18-metre compressed natural gas (CNG) buses for the Société des Transports Abidjanais (SOTRA) - the Abidjan Transport Company - for vehicles to be delivered from mid-2018 to the City of Abidjan. 

Amadou Koné, Ivorian transport minister, launched the ground breaking initiative as part of the country's commitment to the Paris COP 21 agreement. The fleet of buses fuelled by compressed natural gas is commissioned by SOTRA, and supplied by IVECO. 

French multinational electric utility company, ENGIE together with international consultancy and engineering firm Tractebel, collaborated to engineer, supply and install the first ever compressed natural gas (CNG) fuelling station in Abidjan.

The CNG fuelling station, located at  Abidjan Transport Company SOTRA's premises in Yopougon, will facilitate the operation of the new range of compressed natural gas buses.

ENGIE said when fully commissioned, the gas fuelling station will have a compression capacity of 1360 m³/h, and will be split into two units, each equipped with two hoses, enabling four buses to charge at any one time. 

The government of Cote d'Ivoire has unveiled its first fleet of buses which will be fueled with compressed natural gas to serve within Abidjan's wider urban area (Pic supplied: ENGIE)

The particle emission levels will be nearly zero, and their Nitrogen Oxide emissions will be reduced by 60 percent.

The Abidjan station is the first stage in the Ivorian government and public transportation companies plan to increase the number of CNG buses and ensure that the region is working towards fulfilling its commitment to the COP 21 agreement. 

It is hoped that the move will lead the way for other African countries that are keen to further embrace clean technologies. Countries including Ghana, Togo, Benin and Cameroon are monitoring the success of the initiative with the intention of replicating the project.

ENGIE and Tractebel are specialists in delivering infrastructures which provide alternative fuels for green mobility solutions, and a local presence that was vital to the success of the venture.  As part of the deal between IVECO and SOTRA, 50 Crealis buses will run on compressed natural gas in Abidjan. 

African News Agency (ANA)