Sun, Jan 28, 2007 - Page 2 News List

`Green buses' ply Kaohsiung streets

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

More than 400 public buses that run on a new fuel, 2 percent of which is bio-diesel made from soybeans, sunflowers and rape, made their debut in Kaohsiung City yesterday.

According to the Industrial Technology Research Institute, which undertook the project, Kaohsiung City will become the first city in Taiwan and the second city in Asia to add bio-diesel to public bus fuel.

The 428 buses, dubbed "green buses," will cover 59 main bus routes in Kaohsiung, helping the government achieve its goal of providing a healthy and sustainable environment, deputy director of the Ministry of Economic Affairs' (MOEA) Bureau of Energy, Wang Yunn-ming (王運銘), said.

The project will operate for six months and should help reduce bus exhaust fumes by up to 820 tonnes, he said.

"Although Kaohsiung did not sign the Kyoto Protocol, Kaohsiung citizens are willing to carry out the responsibility as a member of the global village," Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said in an initiation ceremony of the project yesterday.

She was joined by Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆).

The scheme is subsidized by the bureau, which has been promoting the project to encourage public transportation to use bio-diesel fuel since last November.

Buses or cars using bio-diesel emit less carbon dioxide and thus help slow global warming, according to data from the institute.

Wang said the MOEA also plans to promote a "Green County Project" this June and to establish the regional production and marketing of bio-diesel.

He said that all the nation's diesel products will contain at least 1 percent of bio-diesel by next year.

Bureau director Yeh Huey-ching (葉惠青) said it was important for Taiwan to develop new bio-energy technologies and the means of production given that 90 percent of the nation's energy requirements are imported.

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