Bringing CNG to backward eastern Gujarat

Vol 14, PW 12 (02 Dec 10) Midstream & Downstream

Early next year Petronet-LNG hopes to start setting up India’s first Liquefied-CNG (L-CNG) stations in remote areas of eastern Gujarat.

“We see a good opportunity for L-CNG in Gujarat’s ‘eastern belt’,” confirms a Petronet-LNG source. “People living and working there are highly aware of the benefits of using CNG but it is not yet available as there are few gas pipelines or CNG stations in the area.

” L-CNG stations, he explains, are mobile LNG storage tanks with ‘cryogenic pumps’, ‘vaporisers’ and gas compression equipment. LNG from the storage tank is converted to gas in the vaporiser using “heat exchange with the environment”, then converted to CNG for sale as fuel to cars, buses or auto-rickshaws.

“L-CNG is a cost-effective and practical way to produce and sell CNG with low initial investments,” adds a source. Worldwide, L-CNG technology has been 'piloted' successfully in developed countries like Italy, France, Germany and the US.

But Petronet-LNG now wants to bring it to underdeveloped and backward eastern Gujarat districts, which lack gas pipeline infrastructure, making it difficult to set up conventional CNG stations. Towns like Ahwa, Bardoli, Rajpipla, Dahod and Godhra, near Gujarat’s border with neighbouring states Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are likely to see the first L-CNG stations.

Petronet-LNG believes it can easily supply these areas with LNG as they are all located within a 300-km radius of its Dahej LNG terminal. Still unclear is whether Petronet-LNG will first run L-CNG 'pilots’ or jump directly into the business.

Interest in its L-CNG proposal is widespread, particularly at the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC), which has around 126 bus stations and runs 8000 buses every day. A GSRTC team met Petronet-LNG representatives to discuss its L-CNG plans in September this year.

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