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Have you ever been in an open vehicle stuck in traffic for a long time? Have you ever felt after a while indeed the traffic irritates you all and probably angers you but along with that don’t you sometimes feel a little bit of dizziness? Now, most of you might know why that happens. It is because we are inhaling the fumes of the vehicle’s exhaust. If we look at this objectively the car exhaust has carbon monoxide in it. inhaling it in small quantities is fine but has a negligible effect on your body.
The emissions from cars, trucks, and other vehicles release harmful pollutants into the air. While electric vehicles (EVs) are seen as a promising solution for reducing emissions, their global adoption may take time. In the meantime, the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) in vehicles can be a beneficial alternative fuel for reducing pollution.
CNG is a cleaner-burning fuel compared to gasoline or diesel, and its use can significantly reduce harmful emissions, making it a viable option for reducing pollution until EVs become more prevalent. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using CNG in vehicles and how it can help in the fight against pollution.
What is CNG Fuel
The full form of CNG is Compressed Natural Gas. CNG is a readily available alternative to gasoline that is made by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume using standard pressure. It sounded technical but really it is the greatest discovery since the invention of the smartphone.
It is a simple recipe you take one part of the microscopic single-cell plant and one part microscopic single-cell animal to cover them with sediment before they can decay and cook them for a few hundred million years at high heat under tons of pressure and you get natural gas. To harness its natural gas is drawn from domestic gas wells. Natural gas only can be transported through pipelines or specialized ships called CNG carriers.
CNG is a cleaner fuel than petrol and diesel, as it produces fewer greenhouse gases ( Nitrogen oxide, Carbon Monoxide, etc) and particular matter. CNG is cheaper than petrol and diesel, Making it an attractive option for vehicles and industrial uses. CNG only can be used for specially designed engines and it is stored in high-pressure cylinders that are mounted on cars.
CNG is used around the globe for various applications like transportation, heating, and industrial applications.
Advantages Of CNG
- CNG is a cleaner fuel
CNG fuel burns more completely than petrol and diesel because it contains more hydrogen and less carbon and sulfur content than other fuels, which leads to lower carbon emissions.
- CNG can be stored and transported more easily
CNG has properties like high energy density and high compressibility. It is gas at room temperature so it should be stored in tanks under high pressure to convert it into liquid form. This allows more gas to store in a smaller space making it more efficient and easy to transport.
- CNG is abundant and readily available
The CNG is extracted from natural gas and natural gas reserves are abundant in nature. The production of natural gas also increased due to advances in drilling technology and increased demand for clean energy.
- CNG is a cheaper source of energy
The price of petrol and diesel is totally dependent on crude oil prices because they are extracted from crude oil. Unlike CNG is transported and stored differently. The extraction of CNG is totally different from petrol and diesel. The production of CNG needs less refining. There are many countries that provide good tax incentives for CNG consumers.
Disadvantages Of CNG
- The limited infrastructure of CNG gas refueling stations
The demand for CNG as a fuel source is relatively low compared to petrol and diesel, therefore the number of vehicles that require CNG fuel is less. The cost of refueling pumps is relatively high. There are many safety regulations and permits that are required for CNG pumps can make it challenging.
- High cost of converting petrol and diesel vehicles into CNG
The process of converting a petrol or diesel vehicle into a CNG requires installing a CNG cylinder, Pressure regulator, Injection system, and other components called a CNG kit. This conversion requires specialized equipment and skilled technicians. This makes the conversion of petrol and diesel cars more expensive.
- CNG is a highly flammable
The CNG gas is composed mainly of methane gas and methane gas is a highly combustible gas. CNG is stored under very high pressure (200 and 250 bar) to convert it into liquid form which increases its potential energy making the CNG explosive and highly Flammable.
- CNG vehicles have a limited driving range
The energy density of compressed natural gas is lower than conventional fuels like petrol and diesel. The low energy density means it has a lower energy content per unit volume compared to petrol and diesel. CNG vehicles require a storage tank which increases the weight of the vehicle and reduces the space for passengers and luggage.
The increased weight of the vehicle reduces the energy density and consequently the driving range of the vehicle.
Is CNG A Viable Solution For Reducing Pollution
Compressed natural gas produces fewer emissions and less particular matter than other fuels. CNG produces a very less number of greenhouse gases ( carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and ozone). Therefore CNG is a useful alternative fuel till EVs become the norm and for lowering air pollution. CNG fuel can be used as an alternative to diesel in industrial applications like fuel for boilers, run generators, and many more.
However, CNG is not a way to solve the problem of increasing pollution. The environmental impacts of CNG is depends upon where it is going to use, including the type of cars, trucks, and buses, where you are driving the vehicle, and the distribution of CNG. The production and distribution of CNG can result in leakages and accidents which can eliminate the environmental benefits of CNG.
CNG may not be the most efficient and effective solution for pollution prevention. Other fuels and technologies like electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, might offer better efficiency and cost-effectiveness in certain applications. It is important to evaluate the impacts and benefits to the environment and economy in the specific context where it is being used.
Challenges In Developing CNG Infrastructure
- Limited availability of natural gas
Only a few countries (Russia, Iran, Qatar, US) are rich in natural gas reserves. So the countries which have limited reserves import natural gas from them. The transportation cost increases the overall costs of the CNG.
- High initial investment
Building a CNG station requires a network of pipelines, compressors, and storage tanks increasing the initial investment. This is a challenge for newcomers and developing countries with limited financial resources.
- Limited consumers
CNG vehicles are not popular compare to petrol and diesel vehicle hence there is not enough demand for CNG vehicles and CNG stations, making them less attractive to investors and institutions.
- Safety concerns
CNG is highly flammable and explosive and requires high safety measures to be taken including special types of equipment, and skillful technicians to ensure safe handling of the fuel. It is a challenge for companies to follow safety regulations required by the authorities.
- Regulatory challenges
Government and regulatory bodies play important roles in the development of CNG infrastructure. If they lack clear policies and regulations then it makes companies difficult to invest and plan for the future
- Regular maintenance
CNG infrastructure requires periodic inspections and replacements of worn-out components. This task is difficult in remote areas due to the lack of technicians and skillful workers.
How Will CNG Impact The Future And Energy Of Transportation
Compressed natural gas engines produce a very less number of pollutants compared to other fuels which helps to improve public health, greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and reduce the impact of climate change. CNG is cheaper than other conventional fuels this will reduce the operating cost of transportation and could be more affordable for consumers.
The technology advancements in the automotive industry including more efficient engines and advanced fuel storage systems will lead to a better future for CNG. It can be produced from renewable sources such as biogas, making it a cleaner fuel option for transportation. The adoption of CNG vehicles could lead to the development of more extensive fueling infrastructure, creating new business and job opportunities
Frequently Asked Questions
The cost is dependent on the type of vehicle. To convert you will require a CNG kit which can go from 60000 Rs.
There are several online resources that provide maps and directories of CNG filling stations across the country.
Refueling a CNG vehicle involves parking the vehicle in the designated filling area, connecting the filling hose to the fueling inlet, and following the pump instructions to begin fueling. The time it takes to refuel a CNG vehicle varies depending on the tank size and fueling rate of the station, but it generally takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, similar to refuelling a petrol or diesel vehicle.
Yes, CNG vehicles can be used in cold weather climates, but they may experience reduced fuel efficiency and difficulty starting the engine in extremely cold temperatures.
CNG can be used in hybrid or electric vehicles, but it requires a separate conversion system or a dual-fuel system.