Abu Dhabi Turns to Natural Gas Green Transport

abu dhabi muslim green driver hijab woman Abu Dhabi cars to run on compressed natural gas.

The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has converted 20 vehicles in its fleet of 500 to run on compressed natural gas (CNG).  It’s part of their commitment to reduce harmful emissions and their press release says they’ll convert about 20% percent of the total fleet to CNG by the end of 2015. Read more about this initiative and all about how Abu Dhabi is leading the region’s green revolution.

The switch to alternative fuel is happening in partnership with Al Wathba Central Services, which is providing free training to ADFCA staff who’ll be driving these green machines.

A CNG vehicle’s carbon footprint is about 75% of that of comparable gasoline fueled wheels.

CNG is pitched as a safer fuel (it’s more difficult to ignite than gasoline); as a fuel that lowers fleet operating costs (less wear on engines than gasoline); and of course, there’s the gentler atmospheric impact.

Conversion to CNG brings a 10 – 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over a vehicle’s lifecycle, compared to a gasoline-fueled equivalent.  ADFCA cited recent research indicating that a CNG vehicle engine will emit 80% less nitrogen oxides, 80% less non-methane organic gases, and up to 70% less carbon monoxide.

That adds up to improved air quality, so why stop at 20 vehicles?  And why wait three years to convert another 80?

Abu Dhabi leads the Middle East (and most of the globe) in environmental stewardship.  How green are they?  Let me count the ways:

  • These are the folks who hatched zero-energy Masdar City.
  • UPC developed Plan 2030 which sets a sustainable foundation for all new development occurring in the Emirate and capital city.
  • Their green program, Estidama (which encompasses the Pearl Rating system), is an inspired vision for governance and community development.
  • Their Orwellian-sounding Quality and Conformity Council sets uniform performance measures and raises public awareness on environmental aspects of building components.

Ahmad Abdul Al Sharah, ADFCA’s Acting Director of Communication and Community Service, told Gulf News ,“The word ‘sustainability’ has now become an integral part of government parlance and projects announced are all in line with the objectives of achieving sustainability.  We believe that it is important to do all we can to make life easier for the present and coming generations through better protection of our environment and reduction of pollution.”

ADFCA also launched initiatives to reduce water consumption in irrigation: Abu Dhabi farming assistance goes to applicants who agree to steer clear of water-intensive crops.

All good stuff.  Just leaves me wondering, if we know the proven benefits behind an action, and there are sufficient resources to cover costs, why not step on the gas and make these positive changes – in a wider scope and foreshortened timetable – now?

Image of Muslim woman driver from Shutterstock

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