By Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI: In a major step to curb rising air pollution in Indian cities, Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Petroleum and Natural Gas and Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Environment, Forest & Climate Change launched first of its kind Pilot Programme in the country to run two wheelers on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) here on Thursday in the presence of Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament, Dr. Bhure Lal, Chairman, EPCA, B.C. Tripathi, CMD, GAIL (India) Ltd., Ashutosh Jindal, Joint Secretary, Ministry Of Petroleum & Natural Gas, E.S. Ranganathan, Managing Director, Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL), officials and media persons.
Being implemented by Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL), India’s largest CNG distribution company and one of its parent company, GAIL (India) Limited, the Pilot Programme will involve 50 CNG retrofitted two wheelers. Of these, the first batch of ten CNG retrofitted two wheelers were flagged off by the dignitaries at IGL’s CGO Complex CNG Station.
Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan said there are 55 lakh two wheelers in the national capital alone and this Pilot Programme will serve as small but vital step in the fight against pollution. He said the CNG-run two wheelers will not only emit 75 % lesser hydrocarbons as compared to petrol-driven models but would be more economical to run. Welcoming the initiative of Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL), Pradhan said that the Government is pro-actively striving to promote clean fuel in the country. He said that the Government is promoting the use of gas in the country, thereby providing a better lifestyle to the people and also fulfilling the COP-21 commitments to curb pollution. Shri Pradhan said that the Gas share in the country’s fuel basket is just 7% compared to world average of around 24%. Describing the pilot programme to run two wheelers on CNG as historic, he said that after evaluating its experience, it will be expanded very fast.
Speaking on the occasion, Prakash Javadekar said that the Government is fully committed to control pollution in the country, and for this purpose, there will be a jump from Euro-IV type fuel to Euro-VI by 2020. He said that Environment Ministry will fully support the endeavours to promote clean fuel, including Gas. The Minister said that the launch of pilot phase of the project for CNG kit in two-wheelers will have a far-reaching implication in reducing pollution.
Meenakshi Lekhi congratulated the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for converting a corporate oriented ministry to a welfare oriented one. She said that pilot project is a sign of growing India-Iran cooperation, as the Iranian kits have been used for retrofitment.
Earlier, welcoming the guests, B.C. Tripathi said the technical and commercial feasibility of CNG-run two wheelers would be explored during the Pilot Programme before commercialization. The performance of the two wheelers and the feedback of the drivers would also be taken into account, he said adding the initiative may also be extended to Bengaluru and Pune in due course.
While delivering vote of thanks, E.S. Ranganathan shared that IGL had been asked by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and GAIL (India) Limited to find a city specific solution to the rising pollution levels in the capital. He added that this is just the first step and IGL would be working towards developing a road map of introduction of CNG in other two wheelers like motorcycles also. He reiterated the commitment of IGL towards expanding its CNG refueling infrastructure to meet the increasing demand.
The project is inspired by the ‘Hawa Badlo’ initiative which is a people’s initiative to fight air pollution backed by GAIL and city gas distribution companies. As part of the movement, a number of awareness drives have been carried out regarding the fight against air pollution. ‘Hawa Badlo’ also supports research initiatives in this regard, of which the CNG retrofitted two wheeler programme is a part.
Fifty scooters shall be retrofitted with CNG kit manufactured by M/s ITuk Manufacturing India Pvt. Ltd in the pilot phase. The type approval of the CNG kit has been taken from Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) as well as Transport Department, Govt. of NCT of Delhi. The approvals of all Components, parts and assemblies in the kit, as applicable, have been obtained from Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), International Center for Automotive Technology (ICAT) and Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO). The retrofitment in vehicles has been undertaken in a centre authorized by Transport Department, Govt. of NCT of Delhi.
As per idle emission test, the hydrocarbon emissions from CNG retrofitted two wheelers are 75% lesser and CO emissions are 20% lesser as compared to petrol driven similar models.
The CNG kit for two wheelers comprises two CNG cylinders of 4.8 litre water capacity each, which can be filled with up to 1 kg of CNG in each cylinder. These CNG retrofitted two wheelers can drive upto 120 kms in a single fill and are expected to be substantially economical as compared to a similar petrol run vehicle at the current level of prices as per the kit manufacturer.
The performance of CNG retrofitted two wheelers would be closely monitored in terms of efficiency, emissions, etc. during the pilot phase by all the stakeholders and the learning from this project would be used to develop the road map for introduction of CNG in two wheeler segment across the nation.
The role of CNG in curbing alarmingly high pollution levels in the capital during first decade of this century has been acknowledged world over. However, there has also been a major increase in the vehicular population in Delhi. While the entire public transport in the city has been mandated to run on CNG by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, around 5 lakh CNG powered private cars are also running in the city and their numbers are increasing due to increased environmental awareness as well as economics in favour of CNG.
IGL has been augmenting its CNG refueling infrastructure to commensurate with increasing demand in its geographical areas of operation. A record number of 92 new CNG filling facilities have been set up by IGL in the region during first five months of the year between January and May 2016 thereby taking the number of CNG fuelling facilities of IGL to 414.