Santa Fe tackles public transport emissions with new biodiesel, hybrid and electric buses

Reading time: 4 minutes
15 August 2018

Transport represents 30% of Argentina’s energy related emissions. The province of Santa Fe, an Under2 Coalition member and a participant in the Under2 ZEV Project, is determined to tackle the issue.

In June, the state launched the innovative new ‘BioBus’ project, coordinated by the Secretary of State for Energy and the City Hall of Rosario – Santa Fe’s largest city. The BioBus project includes biodiesel, hybrid and fully electric buses powered by solar energy. It aims to demonstrate that public investment in innovative technology, coupled with large scale procurement, can significantly improve the delivery of public services and contribute to smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Increasing biodiesel in the fuel mix

In June, the percentage of biodiesel used to fuel 400 buses in the city of Rosario increased to 25%, surpassing the 10% target set by the national government. This is the first experience of its kind in Latin America, and Rosario is also the first city in Argentina to have three buses running on biofuels alone.

Using biofuels in public transport in Rosario not only has the potential to reduce emissions by an estimated 23% but will also address public health issues by significantly improving air quality. As Santa Fe produces 80% of Argentina’s biofuels, there will be positive economic impacts and green jobs created in the state.

Converting old buses to hybrids

In addition to the biodiesel buses, the state has also been working on developing a new model of hybrid buses called InnovaRosario01. The model combines a traditional internal combustion engine and a hydraulic accumulator able to recuperate and reuse the energy generated during braking. Thanks to this, the InnovaRosario01 consumes 30% less fuel than traditional buses, reducing both costs and emissions.

One of the main advantages of the technology is that it can be used to convert existing traditional buses to hybrids. The new model also supports local industry as it has been designed by a Rosario citizen and all the components are developed and assembled by local companies.

The first hybrid bus started running in December 2017 and is now being fully powered by biofuels. The government of Santa Fe is aiming to develop seven more hybrid buses in 2018 and ultimately hopes to provide this type of vehicle to other countries across Latin America.

BioBus

Looking to the future

The next step of BioBus will be to power the two existing electric bus lines in Rosario (approximately 50 buses) with 100% solar energy from a new plant in the city of San Lorenzo. In the next months and years, the project aims to increase the number of biofuels buses as well as the share of biodiesel they run on. By doing this, the government hopes to simultaneously deliver on its emissions reduction goals, reduce public health concerns and promote local green jobs.

The Under2 Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Project helps state and regional governments to increase the number of zero emission vehicles on their roads. It is implemented by The Climate Group, as part of the Under2 Coalition, with the support of the Scottish Government.

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