Petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan has opened a compact reformer plant owned by Indian Oil Corporation Limited which will produce hydrogen-enriched compressed natural gas (H-CNG) as a fuel for buses in Delhi. The minister also officially started a six-month trial run of 50 buses run on the blended fuel.
The reformer plant is at the Delhi Transport Corporation’s Rajghat bus depot and has been installed, along with related infrastructure, by Indraprastha Gas Ltd.
The trial project will study the performance of the H-CNG vehicles in line with the stage IV Bharat emissions standards enforced across India since 2017. The government banned the sale of stage IV-compliant vehicles in April and has committed to introduce stage VI emissions this year.
Indian Oil’s compact reforming process produces H-CNG from natural gas rather than using renewable electricity to power the energy intensive generation of hydrogen using water electrolysis. The gas-fired approach also eliminates high-pressure blending costs and enables on-site H-CNG production under low pressure, according to IndianOil
The Rajghat plant has a daily generation capacity of four tons and IndianOil said the resultant fuel blend is expected to lower emissions and be cost-effective.
“Recent studies conducted by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), [in] Pune, have confirmed that 18% H-CNG as fuel ensures [a] 70% reduction in carbon monoxide and 25% reduction in hydrocarbon emissions in heavy-duty BS-IV [Bharat stage IV emission-compliant] engines as compared to baseline CNG [compressed natural gas], besides increasing fuel economy by 4-5%,” said an IndianOil statement.
The Delhi facility is said to offer a 22% saving on the production cost of conventional physical blending of H-CNG and the fuel can be used with minimal modifications to conventional engines and compressed natural gas refilling equipment.
The six-month trial will compare fuel economy and emissions performance from compressed gas and H-CNG vehicles.
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