Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching CNG projects in 65 cities and initiating 10th city gas licensing round, the apex body of auto LPG suppliers has urged the government to give them a level-playing field as LPG is as effective as CNG in curbing vehicular pollution. "Why include only CNG in #CityGasBidding rounds? #AutoLPG is much more feasible and low hanging fruit! Can impact air quality almost immediately. It needs to be part of the next bid round," Indian Auto LPG Coalition director general Suyash Gupta tweeted.
City gas distribution (CGD) bid rounds, the like the one recently concluded and the one Modi will launch on November 22, only provide for giving licences on companies setting up CNG dispensing stations to fuel automobiles. Both compressed natural gas (CNG) and auto LPG are alternatives to polluting diesel and petrol. CNG is the compressed form of natural gas, which is nothing but greenhouse gas, methane.LPG on the other hand is a derivative of hydrocarbons and can be made from both natural gas and crude oil. LPG is "3rd most used auto fuel globally!!," he said.
Later talking to PTI, Gupta said setting up a LPG station takes just two months and the time auto LPG takes to fill a vehicle is equal to time taken to fill a petrol and diesel vehicles. CNG on the other hand takes greater time and has led to queues in cities in Delhi and operators giving discounts on price to encourage vehicles to refuel after midnight. In Turkey, 40 per cent of all private cars run on auto LPG. LPG as a fuel in automobiles is cleaner than CNG and is easier to handle, he said adding 27 million vehicles globally run on auto LPG. India has 1,200 auto LPG outlets and these can increase if the government allows city gas operators a choice of CNG and auto LPG outlets, he said.
Auto LPG can reduce vehicular pollution and the fuel can be transported easily and does not require pipelines and other infrastructure. An auto LPG dispensing station can be set up within existing petrol pumps.Auto LPG emits up to 120 times lesser particulate emissions than diesel vehicles, 96 per cent lesser nitrogen dioxides (NOx) than diesel and 68 per cent lesser NOx than petrol.
Modi will on November 22 launch the 10th city gas licensing round that will help extend coverage of CNG and piped cooking gas connections to 70 per cent of the population. He will also lay foundation stones marking the beginning of work for city gas networks in 65 cities, licences for which were given out in the previous bidding round that concluded a couple of months back.
In the 10th bid round for giving licences to retail CNG to automobiles and piped natural gas to household kitchens, 50 geographical areas or GAs spread over 124 districts in 14 states, covering 24 per cent of India's population and 18 per cent of its area, are being offered. In the ninth bid round, 86 GAs spread over 174 districts in 22 states and union territories and covering 26 per cent of India's population and 24 per cent of its area were offered. Of these, 78 GAs have been awarded to companies like Adani Gas, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Torrent Gas.
Modi through video conferencing will lay the foundation stones for 65 GAs during a function on November 22, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) Chairman Dinesh K Sarraf said last week. "Of the 86 GAs of 9th bid round, five GAs have been excluded as they are under litigation. Another 16 GAs fall in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana where assembly elections are on and so have been excluded because of model code of conduct. Another three GAs will have to be excluded because of local panchayat elections," he had said.
First CNG station or a piped natural gas connection in the GAs awarded in the previous round will take at least 1-2 years to become operational. The government is targeting raising share of natural gas in the primary energy basket to 15 per cent from current 6.2 per cent, in the next few years and the bid rounds are aimed at fulfilling that objective.