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What Is CNG fuel? Understanding Natural Gas Vehicles

What Is CNG fuel? Understanding Natural Gas Vehicles

Compressed Natural Gas or CNG is one of the most used fuels today, it is an alternative to polluting liquid fuels. CNG cars are very present in across the world and there are already many CNG stations to supply the thousands of vehicles that use this system.

In India, the Central Ministry of New and Renewable Energy along with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been planning and executing these changes in the production and distribution system with the help of introducing new policies and updating older ones in accordance with the following the UN General Assembly Sustainable Development Goals.

What is CNG Fuel

Compressed natural gas is a simple mixture of gases, better known by the acronym CNG. It is a fuel for vehicular use that, because it is economical and environmentally clean, is considered a sustainable alternative for the substitution of liquid fuels. The terms compressed natural gas and vehicular natural gas (NGV) are used interchangeably.

One of the advantages of natural gas is that it produces a minimum percentage of carbon dioxide, so its use is much more beneficial for the environment than fossil fuel.

CNG is obtained from natural gas deposits, thanks to its methane content it is possible to use the gas as fuel for vehicles of all kinds with a simple installation. It also originates from organic waste, which is why it is considered a fossil energy source. It is impossible to detect gas pockets by analyzing only the surface, so it is necessary to analyze the composition of a given soil.

Once a pocket of gas is detected, work can begin to extract it. There are several ways to extract gas from inside the ground, some quite controversial due to the consequences they can generate.

  • On the one hand, if the gas pocket does not contain oil, its extraction is simplified, it is simply necessary a pipe and pumps that extract the gas to the surface.
  • On the other hand, if the bag contains oil, it must be mechanically separated from the gas, in a complex but essential process.
  • To generate CNG or LPG, the gas is compressed and stored in cylinders. Unlike oil, gas does not need to be treated or refined for use. Thermal engines accept raw gas as fuel, making it suitable for vehicles of all kinds.

Benefits of CNG Vehicles

A CNG vehicle has an internal combustion engine adapted to use gas as fuel, specifically Compressed Natural Gas, instead of a fuel such as gasoline. They are bi-fuel cars: vehicles with a single internal combustion engine, but that can use two fuels, gasoline or natural gas, interchangeably.

Among the advantages of this type of car are:

  • Fuel savings: CNG is cheaper than gasoline or diesel, therefore, the cost in kilometres is lower.
  • ECO label: they have the ECO environmental label from the DGT as they emit much lower levels of CO2 than diesel or gasoline cars.
  • Aid available: this type of ecological car has aid to encourage the purchase of less polluting vehicles.
  • Cheaper parking: being less polluting, these cars have discounts on the Regulated Parking Service parking meter rates.

CNG stations in India

Currently, about 76% of the CNG stations and 80-90% of the PNG connections are concentrated in Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

In 2019, during talks of the ninth and 10th rounds of bidding for CGD networks, the number of CNG stations and domestic piped natural gas (PNG) connections were expected to increase by 8,181 and 4.2 crores in the next 8-10 years.

CGD network operators are now seeing to benefit from a sustained weakness in a global spot of LNG prices and an expected decline in domestic gas prices. According to Kotak Institutional Equities, CGD companies source around 15% of their domestic gas requirement from the Panna-Mukta-Tapti (PMT) fields.

Reports declassified that after the expiry of PMT’s production sharing contract in December 2019, gas from the field was seen to the levels of $3.6 per million British thermal units (mbtu), against its earlier contracted price of $5.7/mbtu making banking sector players like Kotak expect the domestic gas price to decline by around $1/mbtu in the upcoming revision for the first half of FY21.  Private Sector entities such as Adani Gas and Torrent Gas have a significant presence in the sector.

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