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Gas Networks Ireland, Applegreen strike deal for CNG fuel on M7

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GAS Networks Ireland and Applegreen have agreed to develop two fast-fill compressed natural gas (CNG) stations along the M7 to provide hauliers a green alternative to diesel.

The stations, located in Portlaoise and Tipperary, are expected to open by the end of the year. They will join the nation's first public CNG station at Dublin Port. Seven more public CNG stations are currently in development.

Ireland is among the last nations in Europe to develop a network of CNG filling stations.

The alternative fuel - significantly cheaper than diesel with a much lower emissions profile - is commonly used by European hauliers, with particularly extensive filling networks in Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden and the Benelux nations.

Around two million CNG-powered lorries, vans and cars are already on Europe's roads, 25 million worldwide.

The vast majority of vehicles queueing for CNG in Dublin Port are foreign. CNG-powered lorries registered in Ireland -fuelled in hauliers' private depots - still number in the dozens.

Gas Networks Ireland is tasked with meeting an EU directive requiring CNG supply at least every 150 kilometres on major roadways by 2025.

"Ireland's transport emissions continue to rise. While this is the by-product of much welcomed economic and employment growth, as a country we face significant challenges to meet our emissions reduction targets," said Declan O'Sullivan of Gas Networks Ireland.

The M7 locations will be at Applegreen's forecourts in Midway, Portlaoise and Birdhill, Co Tipperary.

Applegreen managing director Dáire Nolan said they were discussing other potential CNG sites. He said Applegreen was "very proud to offer Ireland's commercial fleet operators a cleaner and more cost-effective fuel alternative".

Irish Independent