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Railways testing CNG-powered engines

April 22, 2007 18:30 IST

In a move to use non-conventional fuels for running its engines, Northern Railways is now conducting trial runs of locomotives with eco-friendly CNG.

"We have successfully conducted trial runs of railway engines with CNG and trials are now being done on the Delhi-Rohtak and Delhi-Rewari routes," a senior Railway official told PTI.

"The trials on these routes began just a few months back. These trials will be confined to areas near Delhi."      

New Delhi already has eco-friendly compressed natural gas-run buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis.

"We cannot depend totally on conventional fuels. So we have to look at other options and this (engines runs on CNG) is a step forward in that direction," another official said.

A feasibility study and technical report on the project was done in July 2004. The report was submitted to and subsequently cleared for trials by the Research, Design and Standards Organisation.

"After the clearances, work on structural modification and the retro fitment of CNG kits was started in November 2004 at Shakurbasti Diesel Shed," the official said.

Indraprastha Gas Limited, which supplied CCOE-approved cascade fitted with CNG high-pressure cylinders, high-pressure gas pipelines and other fittings to the railways, has installed a CNG filling station at Shakurbasti Diesel Shed for filling the fuel in the engines, officials said.

This is the first such installation in the Indian Railways.

IGL now supplies 1,000 kg of CNG to the Shakurbasti shed and the railways recently informed it that there is a requirement of 10,000 to 15,000 kg of CNG every day. The cost of CNG is 60 per cent less than that of diesel for generating the same amount of power.

However, in a dual fuel engine, CNG will replace approximately 50 per cent of diesel, and the operating expenses will thus be reduced by about 30 per cent. It is expected that the average saving per engine per annum will be approximately Rs 27.7 lakh.

Besides, the engines will lessen carbon monoxide and sulphur oxide emissions, helping reduce the greenhouse effect substantially.

The use of CNG will also help contain expenditure on importing petroleum as India has adequate reserves of natural gas in comparison to petroleum, officials claimed.

Zishan Haider in New Delhi
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