STAFF REPORTER PALMA

BALEARIC power supply company Endesa has opened the first natural gas service station on Majorca. It will fuel 12 new buses bought by Palma's Municipal Transport company, EMT, with a further 58 expected next year.

The official opening was attended by Balearic President, Francesc Antich, Central Government Delegate Ramon Socias, the Mayor of Palma Aina Calvo and the President of the Board of Endesa, Feliciano Fuster.

The timing of the purchase of the new buses has coincided with the arrival of a natural gas supply piped to the Balearics through an undersea connection with the mainland. The gas is envisaged as a sustainable alternative to carbon-based fuel for powering public buses in Palma, but that is not its only mission. Apart from already supplying 220 bars, topped up by roving natural gas supply vehicles, the facility can be extended to other forms of public transport such as taxi fleets and separately, messenger services.

The use of natural gas is apparently cheaper, cleaner, and makes less noise. Due to its more efficient combustion, natural gas reportedly helps prolong the life of a vehicle engine, lessens the need for frequent oil changes, and minimises spending on spark plugs and air filters.

Fuster explained that the combustion of natural gas is “very clean” and does not throw ash or any kind of solid particles into the air.
By virtue of its reduced carbon emissions, the gas, he said, is a highly effective contributor to the global fight against the greenhouse effect and acid rain. Natural gas reportedly has a higher ratio of hydrogen to carbon in its chemical components, so that its carbon emissions are less for every unit of energy produced.

Amongst other advantages of natural gas, said Fuster, is the fact that it is lighter than air and in the event of a leak, it simply disperses itself in the atmosphere instead of accumulating in low level concentrations. It is also a non-corrosive, and non-toxic fuel.