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Johannesburg Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau has challenged industry players in general and vehicle manufacturers in particular to come up with concrete and sustainable plans to reduce greenhouse emissions in the city, saying that the time for talking was over.

Mayor Tau was speaking today at the Gas Mobility Summit at the University of Johannesburg on the first day of Transport Month. The summit, which was addressed by several local and international gas for mobility experts, was aimed at examining alternative forms of energy while looking at the critical issue of greenhouse emissions.

The city subscribes to the notion of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It is imperative that we find alternative energy sources that will also meet our objectives of enterprise development and job creation, Mayor Tau said.

He said the city was working towards enabling and supporting all aspects of the gas for mobility value chain.

Mayor Tau said for now, the city was reliant on compressed natural gas (CNG) from Egoli Gas. However, we are also currently working on developing projects that transform waste to energy using non-traditional resource streams such as municipal solid waste, green waste and waste water.

Another venture the city was looking at was to support the gas supply in the energy crop farming which, as he said, would not only generate the much needed jobs in the city, but also potentially rehabilitate degraded land portions such as old mining land.

Based on our current studies, we estimate that approximately 200 sustainable jobs will be created on every 12 hectares of land developed for what we call a sustainable way of living and farming - whereby biogas production will be the anchor, he said.

The city had completed a pre-feasibility study on the potential of the Joburg Market waste stream, and it was found there is potentially sufficient bio-methane to supply approximately 700 000 liters of diesel equivalent fuel every year. The mayor said biogas would be upgraded through a process of cleaning and compression before it is either used at a site of production or injected into the existing CNG pipeline to be used wherever it is required.

Cllr Tau conceded that at present the city had a poor greenhouse gas emission record.

We contribute 56% to the national carbon emissions and we are regarded as the 13th highest carbon emitting city in the world, he said.

Transport had the highest demand for energy at 67%, with private car use constituting a large percentage of this.

The Mayor said the taxi industry, through partnerships with the Gauteng Provincial Government, the Automotive Industrial Development Centre and SANEDI had converted 800 minibus taxis from fossil fuels to gas.

Minibus taxis provide approximately 70% of the public transportation needs and there are currently about 18 000 operating minibuses in the city, the mayor said.


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