It is no secret that the more we exploit our natural resources and pollute our environment, the more we put our planet in danger. For starters, we can all play a proactive role in changing this by using alternative green transport solutions.
Even though ‘green transport’ is not yet a major priority of The Department of Transport and Public Works, they have started taking practical steps to address the growing demand for renewable resources. They recently published a document (July 2011) entitled Provincial Land Transport Framework, which outlines the planning, coordination and strategy for transport over the next four years and suggests that, “by 2050, coal and oil will be significantly less dominant as energy sources, and will be largely replaced by renewable alternatives.”
The Department of Transport is working in partnership with Environmental Affairs, around driver training and improving skill levels directly related to eco-driving, (especially in the metered taxi industry), so that drivers become more environmentally aware and, as a result, use more economical and fuel efficient options.
Biodiesel is made from used cooking oil, which preserves natural resources and doesn’t compete with food crops. In other words, you don’t have to sacrifice a sunflower field to make oil. Unlike crude oil which has a finite lifespan, oil for the production of biodiesel can be grown and is infinitely renewable. Moreover, Biodiesel is non-toxic, non-flammable, non-hazardous and biodegradable and reduces the CO2 emissions from diesel vehicles by up to 80% and exhaust smoke emissions from diesel vehicles by up to 75%.
GreenCab is a Cape Town based taxi company that uses greener fuels, like Biodiesel and Liquefied petroleum gas or LPG (a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases) to limit carbon emissions and fight global warming. “LPG burns more cleanly than petrol or fuel-oil. At high-loads, such as taxi, limousine or shuttle services, LPG can achieve Co2 savings of up to 12% compared to normal petrol vehicles.”(source www.thegreencab.co.za).
GreenCab is also the only taxi company in SA to provide green tourism transport solutions. That’s why it was chosen by the City of Cape Town to transport the 2014 World Design Capital (WDC2014) judges around the city recently. “We are catering for an educated international tourist so we have to provide appropriate services. In tourism there is a growing awareness about the need to go green but it’s very much a middle class issue. It’s not a grass root concept yet.” says Amiene van der Merwe, Marketing Director of GreenCab.
Every diesel vehicle and engine from forklifts, to cars, to trains, to aeroplanes can now use Biodiesel. That’s because Green-Diesel, a company based in Bellville, has created the first biodiesel filling station in South Africa, making biodiesel accessible to the public. And unlike any other petrol station, you can even order biodiesel online, at http://www.green-diesel.co.za and they will deliver your order directly!
Electric cars on the other hand produce zero emissions and are now as design-centric and powerful as many other cars on the road. Optimal Energy, based in Cape Town, is leading the electric vehicle industry in South Africa and has designed and produced our first electric vehicle called the Joule. “It is approximately five times more energy efficient than petrol or diesel vehicles, with substantially less pollution and green house gas emissions in an urban environment”(source www.optimalenergy.com).
The Joule works with a battery and can be plugged in at home using a normal 220 Volt outlet and its onboard charger. With a full battery, the Joule has a 300km autonomy. The car will be available in 2015 and cost between R250 000 and R300 000.
Alternatively still, the best way to reduce pollution and preserve the planet is to walk or use a bike !
Share with us your ideas or solutions about green transport.