NEW DELHI: Scooter owners in the national Capital will now be able to convert their petrol and diesel run vehicles to CNG.
Central government’s ministry of petroleum and natural gas with Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) and GAIL (India) Ltd launched a pilot project by installing CNG retrofit in 10 scooters on Thursday. The first batch of scooters was launched at the CNG filling station at CGO Complex.
“The project has been in the pipeline for around five to six years now. I had gone to Bangkok and saw how they had taken a step towards improving their environment. They had converted both cars and two-wheelers to CNG. This project in India will change the face of the transport sector,” said BC Tripathi, CMD, Gail (India).
He also said the next batch of scooters would be flagged off in the next two months.
Delhi has been battling high pollution for several years now. The Delhi government’s odd-even rule had environment and transport experts divided over the exemption of two-wheelers.
At present, there are 5.6 million two-wheelers registered in the city, and 2.7 million registered cars.
Are search released by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) this year, also shows that out of the city’s total vehicular emissions, two-wheelers contribute to approximately 30% of particulate matter (PM), while cars 23%.
ES Ranganathan, managing director, IGL, said the first batch of CNG retrofits was installed in Honda Activa model, but this is adaptable to all the scooters complying with BS-IV emission standards.
“Two CNG cylinders of 4.8 litre capacity will be installed in the storage space in front, and the re gulator will be installed on top of the engine. This will not only bring down emission levels by almost 70%, it will also be an economical option,” Ranganathan said.
He said that on 1kg of CNG, the user can travel up to 120km. The price of 1kg CNG is 37.02. The mileage of a petrol-run scooter is 40km with a litre of petrol costing 65. The cost of the retrofit is 14,500.
“We are committed to making the city pollution free. Most of Delhi’s commuters drive two-wheelers. They will welcome this environment friendly and economical fuel alternative,” said Dharmendra Pradhan, minister of petroleum and natural gas.
The users, however, will have to battle a few glitches after converting their two wheelers to CNG.
At present, there are only 280 CNG filling stations in the city, and these stations witness serpentine queues. Though IGL is prepared to set up 50 more in the coming months, the problem of soaring demand, after the odd-even road rationing scheme, will persist.
The new retrofit is only compatible with scooters. Experts said in comparison to the newer scooters, there were more motorcycles, which were also more polluting. The project would have benefited if the retrofit was made available for motorcycles also.
There is one more problem, there is just one distributor in the market. Ranganathan said they would bring more distributors in the market, but it will take at least three months.
“Delhi desperately needs to reduce emissions from two-wheelers. We will have to assess the benefits of the project on road now. But this looks like a promising initiative,” said Bhure Lal, chairperson of Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).