A pilot programme to run two-wheelers on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) was initiated in New Delhi on June 23. The first-of-its-kind pilot programme was flagged off by the minister of state for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, and minister of state for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar.
Joint initiative by government, IGL and GAIL
The project is a major step to curb rising air pollution in Indian cities and will use retrofitted CNG kits from Iran. Being implemented by Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) and one of its parent companies, GAIL (India), the pilot programme involves 50 CNG retrofitted two-wheelers. Of these, the first batch of 10 CNG retrofitted two-wheelers was flagged off by the dignitaries.
The introduction of CNG in two-wheeler segment has the capacity to alter the fight against air pollution in the country and especially in the metros like Delhi, where two-wheelers contribute a major portion in the vehicular emissions, according to several studies.
CNG retrofitting backed by 'Hawa badlo' drive to cut emissions
The ‘Hawa Badlo’ movement is a people’s initiative to fight air pollution which is supported 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.
The scooters are being retrofitted with CNG kit manufactured by Ituk Manufacturing India. 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 type approvals of all components, parts, assemblies in the kit have been received from Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO), International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) and ARAI, as applicable. The retrofitment in vehicles has been undertaken in a centre authorised by Transport Department, Govt. of NCT of Delhi.
Reduced emissions from CNG two-wheelers
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 1kg of CNG in each cylinder. These CNG retrofitted two-wheelers can drive up to 120km 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 50 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 roadmap for introduction of CNG in two-wheeler segment across the nation.
Government promoting cheaper, cleaner power
Welcoming the initiative, Pradhan said that the government is pro-actively striving to promote clean fuel in the country. He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 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. The minister explained that the gas share in the country’s fuel basket is just seven percent compared to world average of around 24 percent. 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. Expressing the government’s commitment to ‘Clean Delhi’, the minister added that he has already written to the Delhi government to make Bawana power plant fully operational on LNG so that cheaper and clean power is made available to residents of Delhi, but no satisfactory reply has been received. He said that 350MW Badarpur Thermal power plant in the capital is making several times more pollution than all the vehicles of Delhi put together.
Speaking on the occasion, Prakash Javadekar said that the 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. Outlining the steps taken by the government, Javadekar said that steps such as cess of Rs 400 per tonne on coal, introduction of e-rickshaws and providing subsidy to electric/ hybrid cars, show the urgency and intention of the government to fight pollution.
Also present on the occasion, Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament, congratulated the Petroleum and Natural Gas ministry for initiating the welfare measures. She said that pilot project is a sign of growing India-Iran cooperation, as the Iranian kits have been used for retrofitment.