SUBJECT :AIR Pollution 

 In its endeavour to reduce air pollution, the Indian Railways will retrofit 40 diesel locomotives with CNG (compressed natural gas) kits to reduce emissions levels. The move comes after a pilot project revealed that using dual fuel locomotives reduced smoke emissions by 20 per cent.

The Railway's Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) had taken up the project to develop CNG kits for diesel-electric multiple units (DEMU), as rakes hauled by diesel locomotives are called, following which 10 DEMUs were modified to test their efficacy. Based upon the test results and certain improvements, the Railways has decided to expand the use of CNG in its fleet of about 4,000 diesel locomotives, with modification of 40 more locomotives in the pipeline.

The introduction of CNG kits comes even as a different project to develop locomotives powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is underway. India has substantial LNG reserves and the first LNG powered loco, the tender for which is being finalised, is expected to steam-off for trials in about two years.

Indian Railways consumes about two billion litres of diesel annually and the use of CNG and LNG would have significant impact not only on carbon emissions and particulate matter, but also on foreign exchange, the fuel bill and operating costs.

A concept paper issued by the Railways states the cost of CNG is 60 per cent less as compared to diesel for generating the same amount of power. However, in dual fuel engine, since CNG shall replace approximately 50 per cent of diesel, the, operating expenses shall be reduced by about 30 per cent.

Source: The Tribune, Chandigarh