The government has asked Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) to set up a committee to formulate quality specification guidelines for compressed natural gas (CNG).
The report has to be submitted to the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) within three months.
The committee will include former Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) professor HB Mathur and officials from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), GAIL, Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) and Mahanagar Gas Ltd (MGL).
Though years have passed since the introduction of CNG in Delhi, no fuel quality specifications are in place.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which had formulated a draft on standards, got no response to its suggestions. BIS said it would take one to two years to come out with quality specifications.
EPCA felt that in view of the rapid expansion of CNG programme, not only in Delhi but also in other cities, it was not possible to delay quality specification by another two years.
The environment body contended that since this was the time for graduating from Euro-II to Euro-III emission standards for CNG vehicles, significant improvements were needed in engine technology.
In such a scenario, more advanced generation technology would require improved specifications, it pointed out.
Expert consultation has indicated that the specifications proposed by auto fuel policy are incomplete and inadequate for the next generation CNG buses being rolled out.
The natural gas received from GAIL has slightly higher percentage of carbon dioxide, IGL has informed the petroleum ministry.
The environment body was concerned over the discrepancy in the quality of CNG that was being supplied by various agencies.
The minimum methane content of the gas as per IGL is only 80 per cent, whereas the gas supplied by MGL and others has over 90 per cent methane content.
When good quality gas is available in the market weak specifications could not be justified, it stated.