The market for natural gas-fueled buses is gaining momentum, according to Alexander Dennis Ltd. (ADL), a Scottish firm that hopes to dominate the sector worldwide. It is touting orders in November for more than 1,000 buses worth $352 million, more than half going to Hong Kong.

ADL recently told the fleet industry that it has greatly increased its manufacturing and development of advanced alternative fuel buses, including those running on compressed natural gas (CNG). ADL has formed a joint venture with Winnipeg-based New Flyer Industries to serve a market it thinks is “ready for change,” and it told a fleet operators’ newsletter that it is selling hundreds of advanced buses in China.

ADL believes that there is plenty of interest in fuel-saving technologies in North America, including CNG and hybrid buses.

For CNG vehicles, ADL has an agreement with Scania GB, and as part of that it recently announced a $5.6 million order for 19 of its Enviro300 NGVs for the Reading transit system in the United Kingdom.

Similarly, at the recent NGV Global 2012 conference in Mexico City, Hyundai said it was providing 30 of its Super Aero City CNG-powered buses in Mexico, along with a series of CNG HD 120 trucks to Mexican food company Jumex.

Hyundai uses what is described as a “lean-burn system” with selective catalytic reduction to minimize emissions, avoiding other technical designs for spark-ignition CNG engines because of Mexico’s generally high altitudes.

While the push continues for environmental reasons to use more CNG or liquefied natural gas in transportation in Mexico, a Mexico City-based analyst with Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said the government has not mandated any conversions.

ADL officials told a fleet industry publication there is a new focus on fuel efficiency for any and all alternative vehicle options. The company is moving toward increasing fuel efficiency by 70%, and it is pushing a “start-stop” hybrid technology that allows buses to pull away from stops with zero emissions.

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