In recent years, environmental benefits, improvements in automotive engine design, and the lower production cost of natural gas (compared to heavy diesel fuel) have made use of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) more attractive and cost feasible—particularly for public transportation. One of the other advantages of NGVs is that they can be refueled simply by tapping into existing natural gas lines. The Madrid city government has invested $47 million dollars in a custom refueling station and parking depot for 300 natural gas powered buses in the Sanchinarro area of Madrid.
An Ethernet-based industrial automation, data acquisition, and communications system—based on Opto 22’s SNAP PAC platform and implemented by Spanish integrator Optomation Systems—serves as the communications backbone that keeps the Sanchinarro station operating efficiently. The system employs a number of industrial and IT protocols, including FTP, SNMP, OPC, Modbus/TCP, and M-Bus to communicate more than 600 different data values to and from the Sanchinarro station’s equipment, systems, and external databases.