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Last Updated : Feb 17, 2020 01:11 PM IST | Source:

Govt to push LNG for inter-city long bus travels

Both CNG and LNG are natural gases but CNG consumes three times more space than LNG at a certain temperature.

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After battery electric vehicles, the government of India is likely to pave the way for pushing liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a major fuel for the future in a bid to cut the import fuel bill.

A senior government functionary at an event held in Mumbai recently said that LNG is a cost-effective solution compared to other available fuels and should be used for long distance travel.

Nitin Gadkari, the minister of road transport and highways, said, “In India, there are different types of fuels available. But, LNG is the fuel for the future. Compared to diesel LNG is 45 percent cost-effective. For long distance we can use LNG and for city buses we can use CNG. Bio-CNG is also available. We have converted a few buses to bio-CNG in Nagpur.”


Gadkari was talking at a ceremony in Mumbai organized by Prasanna Purple Mobility Solutions where Maharashtra’s first fully-electric bus was inducted to run between Mumbai and Pune.

Suitable for heavy-duty engines LNG offers the same drive range as that by diesel trucks making them a practical alternative. LNG-powered trucks and buses can travel 800-1,000 km on a full tank of the liquefied gas, the same diesel trucks. Several intra-city transport options such as three-wheelers, taxis and buses have moved to CNG.

Both CNG and LNG are natural gases but CNG consumes three times more space than LNG at a certain temperature. It, thus, restricts CNG, an environment-friendly gas compared to diesel (30 percent lower polluting), to mostly intra-city use. But, since large volumes of LNG can be stored using the same capacity tank, the fuel gives a much better drive range.

An LNG bus is also lighter in weight compared to a diesel bus resulting in better mileage. An LNG bus also has enhanced levels of payload capacity.

An LNG-powered commercial vehicle will be Rs 4-5 lakh more expensive than its diesel counterpart. But, thanks to available technology retrofitting, it is possible for an existing diesel truck to run on LNG. However, it will come at a steep estimated cost of Rs 5-7 lakh.

But, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland, two of India’s three biggest truck and bus makers, already have LNG-powered commercial vehicles in their inventory. The Indo-Swedish joint venture company VE Commercial Vehicles also has the technology to roll out LNG-powered vehicles.

Tata Motors first showcased an LNG-powered bus at the 2014 India Auto Expo and had a pilot run in Thiruvananthapuram in 2016. LNG has so far failed to take off due to non-availability of the fuel and reluctance of automakers to launch compatible vehicles.

State-owned Petronet LNG has been running four LNG buses at its plants in Dahej, Gujarat and Kochi, Kerala and has plans to set up 1,000 outlets that will retail LNG for transportation use.

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First Published on Feb 17, 2020 01:11 pm
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