Wilma den Hartigh
A group of forward-thinking entrepreneurs have established South Africa’s first carbon-neutral transport service.
The Green Cab is the idea of a group of women who decided to pool their expertise to help lower vehicle emissions and make transport services more sustainable.
The Cape Town-based initiative has attracted much attention from businesses looking to green their operations, eco-conscious individuals and the local tourism sector.
“Looking after the environment is something everyone needs to do. We are destroying our planet and we all have a responsibility to do something. We owe it to future generations,” says Lynn Maggott, Green Cab MD.
The company’s fleet has been modified to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and a biodiesel blend of diesel used cooking oil. A 20/80 ratio of biodiesel to diesel is used.
LPG is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases used as fuel in vehicles. It burns more cleanly than petrol.
According to the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, LPG used in taxi, limousine or shuttle services can achieve carbon dioxide savings of up to 12%, compared to normal petrol-driven vehicles.
Biodiesel is a vegetable oil or animal fat-based diesel fuel. Vehicles running on biodiesel can achieve carbon dioxide savings of between 15% and 90%, compared to standard diesel vehicles.
Maggott explains that LPG’s percentage reduction in harmful emissions, as compared to petrol, is 75% less for carbon monoxide; 85% less for hydrocarbon; 40% less for oxide and nitrogen and about 10% less for carbon dioxide.
Biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions between 30% and 50%, depending on the percentage of used cooking oil in the blend.
Most of The Green Cab’s vehicles are supplied by Hyundai South Africa. This is the only vehicle manufacturer in South Africa that will extend warranties on new vehicles once they have been converted to run on a dual fuel system.
The Green Cab petrol vehicles are fitted with a gas tank to store LPG that connects to the fuel system. Diesel vehicles are fitted with diesel particulate filters.
An accredited South African Bureau of Standards technician installed the LPG tanks. All Hyundai converted vehicles are signed off by the manufacturer’s technical director to ensure compliance with international standards.