Kerala gets India’s first LNG bus; Will it complete its journey?
- LNG is considered to be a cleaner and safer fuel which emits 50 per cent less carbon for mass transportation
- LNG-driven bus will run on a trial basis before it can be certified for commercial application
Scripting a new chapter in the country's transport sector which is moving towards clean fuel, India's first liquefied natural gas-driven bus was launched in Kerala. Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan jointly flagged off the first pilot run of the eco-friendly bus on the sidelines of the fourth meeting of the Group of Ministers, set up by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in Thiruvanthapuram.
The LNG-driven bus was rolled out as part of the Centre's plans to use LNG, considered to be a cleaner and safer fuel which emits 50 per cent less carbon, for mass transportation. As it is a pilot project, the LNG-driven bus will run on a trial basis before it can be certified for commercial application. State-owned companies Indian Oil Corp. and Petronet LNG Ltd. have partnered with Tata Motors Ltd. for the same.
Applauding the Kerala government for taking the lead in adopting LNG, which is greener and more economical compared to diesel for public transportation, Pradhan said the state has an important role to play in developing the hydrocarbon sector.
The LNG pipeline was one the major topics of discussion between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pinarayi Vijayan during the latter's first New Delhi visit after taking charge as Kerala Chief Minister, the minister said.
After the meeting, the Prime Minister had asked him to coordinate things in this regard and the Kerala CM had assured all help to complete the laying of GAIL pipeline in Kochi-Mangaluru stretch, Pradhan said. Kerala's decision to roll out more LNG and CNG buses would contribute to realise Modi's vision of 'Climate Justice', he added.
LNG is greener as well as more economical as compared to Diesel. LNG is more suitable for heavy duty segment like Trucks and Buses. LNG is an environmentally friendly fuel with less number of Nox, Sox and particulate matters as compared to any other automotive fuel. Co2 emission is also lesser than Diesel. Introduction of LNG in transport segment will also help India to meet its COP21 commitment.
The Government of India has already announced that it is planning to use LNG, which is cheaper than diesel, as a fuel for Railways and long-haul transportation. The KSRTC, which has a fleet of 6,000 buses, has already announced plans to use natural gas.
Kerala has several important projects that will cater to developing the Hydrocarbon sector. There is the refinery expansion project at Kochi and two other projects- the LPG import terminal at Kochi and a POL terminal at Payyannur- are also being implemented. These projects would give a boost to the petroleum sector in the state economy. There are nine terminals/ depots, seven LPG bottling plants and eight aviation fuel stations in the state to meet the growing demand of petroleum products.
However, transportation and handling of the gas is a highly specialised business and involves huge investments for the development of the terminal port and LNG carriers. Back in 2000 the Oil and Gas Journal reported how the country was expected to boost LNG fuel but most of the projects were yet to see the light of day.