New Delhi: In a major step towards making India a gas-based economy and making CNG as the eco-friendly option for long distance transport in the country, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, today unveiled India’s first long distance CNG bus fitted with composite CNG cylinders, which can travel around 1000 kms in a single fill. The project has been executed by Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) and has been achieved through pioneering design of Type IV Composite Cylinders in buses, replacing traditional very heavy Type-I Carbon Steel cylinders.
Lauding the initiative, Shri Pradhan described it as a milestone in ease of living for the people of country. He said that these CNG buses are being run on pilot basis, but soon they will be scaled on commercial basis. “Delhi has witnessed revolution in shift towards cleaner, gas based fuels. Over 500 CNG stations are operating in Delhi NCR today and about 12 lakh piped natural gas connections have been provided. Over 1,000 PNG connections are being provided daily in the NCR. Long haul CNG buses originating from Delhi to other locations will further drive this shift towards cleaner gas based fuels. This will improve overall ease of living of people by mitigating the problem of air pollution, ensuring a cleaner environment and reducing waiting time at CNG stations.”, Shri Pradhan said.
He said that the Government wants to have Green corridor around the national capital, with the buses from here to Chandigarh, Dehradun, Agra and Jaipur running on CNG. Congratulating the agencies involved in the long distance CNG bus fitted with composite CNG cylinders, he said that cost of such cylinders should be brought down, and economies of scale used to make them more popular and acceptable.
Shri Pradhan said that India is not a pollutant nation when compared with many others, but being a responsible nation, the Prime Minister has promised to bring down the country’s carbon footprint. The Minister said that the Government is committed to promote the gas-based economy, and in this regard $100 billion investment is being made in the energy infrastructure. He further said that the Government wants to begin door-to-door delivery of Petrol, CNG and LNG, as is being done for Diesel by Mobile dispenser. The Minister added that LNG will also be added as the transportation fuel. Shri Pradhan said that a pilot project of Hydrogen-blended CNG fuel is already running in the city, and it will soon be scaled up. He said that the Government is promoting the Waste-to-wealth efforts, and all sources of energy will be used to bring down India’s oil import dependency and make environment better.
The introduction of long range CNG buses fitted with light weight composite cylinders has the capacity to revolutionize the fight against air pollution across the nation. Even after shifting of the entire public transport fleet in the national capital to CNG as per mandate of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, inter-state buses coming from other cities to Delhi continued to run on diesel. Delhi Transport Corporation had stopped all its inter-state routes in 2001 due to unavailability of CNG in the neighboring states. CNG buses are on Indian Roads for more than two decades now but due to on-board storage issues these buses are having a range of 200-250 KM per fill only, thus the application of CNG buses in short distance or Intra City Transport only.
Mahindra & Mahindra, & Agility Fuel Solutions of USA have partnered with IGL for this project, involving introducing the new concept of light weight Type IV composite cylinders in buses. These cylinders are 70% lighter than the Type – I (all steel) cylinders which are being used in India currently. The main advantage of these Cylinders is that due to its lighter weight, the number of cylinders can be increased in the vehicle thus creating more storage capacity on-board. The buses which used to carry only 80-100 Kg of CNG with steel cylinders can carry 225-275 Kg of CNG with new composite cylinders. More storage of CNG means more KM range of buses. Buses fitted with Type IV Composite Cylinders have a running range of approx. 800- 1000 KM per fill of CNG.
IGL has procured 5 number of Mahindra’s Type IV buses. The Buses would be given to Uttarakhand Transport Corporation (UTC) on lease basis after the launch. These will ply on Inter-city routes from Delhi to Dehradun and will be the first CNG Buses in Uttarakhand. Now with this launch, DTC and other State Transport Corporations can again start their long haul operations through CNG Buses. In addition, with more capacity of CNG in one vehicle, it is likely that there shall be reduction in queues at the CNG Stations as these buses will not have to come frequently for fueling.
Apart from purchasing new OEM manufactured Type IV buses, Fleet owners and State Transport Corporations also have the option of retrofitting their existing CNG buses having Type I (Steel Cylinders) with lightweight Type IV Cylinders. Retrofitting with Type IV CNG cylinders is also possible in buses running on other fuels.
This initiative of IGL has the potential of paving way for reduction of buses using diesel as a fuel for Inter City Transport thereby contributing in a major way towards reduction of pollution. This is also a big step towards achieving the vision of making India a gas based economy and creating green highways.