Compressed natural gas
Today the whole world is looking for ways in which to mitigate climate pollution and improve the condition of the urban environment by using less conventional fuel produced from petroleum such as gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and diesel fuel, and in replacing it with an organic and environmentally friendly fuel. It is planned that by 2020, as much as 20 per cent of petrol and diesel will have been replaced by an alternative fuel in the European Union: natural gas, biofuels, hydrogen and other fuel substitutes for conventional cars.
Natural gas as motor fuel has a high potential. It is inexpensive, clean, and has a high octane rating (130), i.e. it is a non-detonating fuel (in comparison, the octane number of the most popular petrol used in Lithuania is 95). Therefore, at present and in the future natural gas will easily comply with permissible emission rates. Natural gas as a motor fuel can be used in parallel with petrol or diesel fuel, or separately in special engines exclusively designed for the use of natural gas.
The ecological benefits of using natural gas should not be underestimated. Natural gas is the cleanest among the fuels currently used for cars. Greenhouse gas emissions are 20-25 per cent less than for petrol and 10-15 per cent less than for diesel fuel. The uniqueness of natural gas lies in its chemical composition – gas molecules have an extremely favourable carbon and hydrogen atom ratio (¼).
The advantages of natural gas as a clean fuel are particularly noticeable in cities – a comparison of the emissions of diesel fuel and gas fuel (g/km) shows that natural gas has 90 per cent less diesel fume, ash and sulphur dioxide pollutants, 50 per cent less carbon monoxide and 20 per cent less nitrogen oxides and reactive hydrocarbons. Compared with petrol emissions, natural gas has 80 per cent less pollution of nitrogen oxides, 25 per cent less of carbon monoxide, 20 per cent less of reacting hydrocarbons and 75 per cent less of carbon dioxide.
CNG in Lithuania – 2010 is the year of the first major step towards the development of a natural gas market for vehicles
For Lithuanian companies to start actually thinking about plans to use more alternative fuels, and also to upgrade their car parks, it is essential that the fuel price is competitive in comparison with conventional fuels and that companies which are determined to switch to green fuels feel that the state supports their initiatives. This is confirmed by the experience in foreign countries – in order for natural gas to be accepted successfully, a promotional public policy is required. The year 2010 can be described as a turning point in the Lithuanian market. For the first time, the use of green fuels was promoted at a state level by revoking the excise duty on natural gas used as motor fuel for local (urban and suburban) regular bus services. This means that the reduction in excise duty has made CNG a competitive alternative to petroleum products.
The latest project of SG Dujos– the development of a research centre for hydrogen as an alternative fuel
SG Dujos is not only introducing technology for the application of natural gas as a fuel, but also investing in research and development which would allow for the development of the latest advanced techniques of application of hydrogen as a fuel or fuel additive in conjunction with natural gas. The European Commission has set a target of replacing 20 per cent of petrol and diesel fuels with alternative fuels by 2020. To this end, SG Dujos seeks to establish a centre for the research of hydrogen as a fuel and a fuel additive, and to promote clean fuel additives and fuel systems in Lithuania. Through the involvement of research partners – the Lithuanian Energy Institute and Vilnius Gediminas Technical University – this project was launched bySG DujosAuto, a company of the SG DujosGroup of companies.
The newly created research centre will analyse opportunities for the application of hydrogen as an additive natural gas and its rational application for vehicles. Similar studies are being carried out in other parts of the world, and therefore the establishment of the research centre aims to independently develop techniques and methodologies in Lithuania. The use of these methodologies will actually allow the production of a new type of fuel to begin – a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas (hydromethane). The centre will also aim to develop a common methodology for adapting this new and particularly clean fuel for current natural gas-powered vehicles. Upon the successful completion of this research, hydromethane could be used in urban public transport. This fuel is not only environmentally friendly, but almost 25 per cent more effective than other currently used fuels.
Hydromethane is an alternative fuel which can be used without significant investment for internal combustion engines in transport and for the development of its infrastructure, and requires a much smaller investment compared to pure hydrogen production facilities. Hydromethane could be used as fuel in a variety of vehicles powered by petrol and diesel fuel. The feasibility of replacement has already been demonstrated by using CNG for public transport buses in Lithuania. One of the tasks scheduled for the research to achieve is to make hydromethane a cheaper alternative to petrol or diesel fuel. The price of 1 l hydromethane should be similar to that of a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), but would have significantly improved combustion properties.
The new project has several key objectives – the development of different hydromethane mixtures, research into the various physical properties of hydromethane mixtures, experimentation and testing in the laboratory, and the development of conditions for the creation of effective industrial hydromethane production technology, as well as the development of industrial hydromethane production techniques. It is intended to prepare a pilot production module of hydromethane, which would be easy to install in gas stations and for the public transport service infrastructure.
It is planned to use hydromethanein public utilities and special purpose vehicles, taxi parks, and, following the establishment of the hydromethanefilling station network, also in inter-city coaches and a number of light-duty vehicles, which would essentially increase the hydromethanemarket. It is planned that CNG fuel-based demand in the market will grow to 40 million cubic meters per year by 2020. In addition to the Lithuanian market, hydromethane as an alternative fuel could be popular in foreign countries. This is due to the same economic and environmental reasons as in Lithuania. It is expected that after the implementation of the project and the creation of new experimental techniques, commercial hydromethane production modules could be exported to foreign countries (Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Poland, Western Europe, Kazakhstan, etc.).