As part of their work in CIVITAS DESTINATIONS, Funchal, a city on the island of Madeira (Portugal), and Rethymno (Greece) are making significant strides in zero-emission mobility.
The Renewable and Sustainable Energy Systems Lab of the Technical University of Crete is carrying out an operational scheme for a full, local Used Cooking Oil (UCO)-to-biodiesel transformation chain.
A small-scale, autonomous biodiesel production unit tests the transformation of UCO to clean fuel. The scheme combines a new “smart” UCO collection network in Rethymno consisting of 30 bins with integrated sensors connected to a web platform that monitor the filling level, temperature and location of bins. These save energy and reduce CO2 emissions by optimising collectors’ routes.
Thanks to CIVITAS DESTINATIONS, electric vehicles are being introduced into public transport, municipal and shared vehicle fleets. Rethymno has launched its first electric minibus, serving a route along the historic centre and the city beach. Free of charge, it promotes more sustainable public transport at the national level by showing how zero-emission vehicles can easily navigate city centres.
In addition to a dockless e-bike sharing system, 300 e-scooters offer quick, on-demand, last mile transportation for 7,200 registered users, covering 27,400 rides per month! The first electric vehicle chargers have also been installed in the city.
Energy savings – globally, regionally, and in particular in the operation of Horários do Funchal's public transport service in Funchal, Madeira – is an emerging theme. Horários do Funchal is renewing its fleet, and has implemented actions such as an eco-driving programme, tyre pressure monitoring system, and predictive analysis of potential bus faults.
The latest activity to reduce energy consumption is a pilot action to test solar panels on the roofs of two buses, supplied by the Norwegian company SolarBus. This activity was supported by the Regional Agency for Energy and Environment of Madeira (AREAM).
In September 2019, two Volvo buses with a new type of solar cells were unveiled. The energy collected will power electrical equipment and charge the buses, all the while reducing fuel consumption. This innovation was first piloted in Norway by Nettbuss, resulting in a 5% reduction in fuel consumption.
Author: Panos Coroyannakis