KSRTC’s plans to convert its diesel buses into natural gas-based vehicles has received a further fillip following Petronet LNG’s move to set up gas dispensing stations at bus terminals.

“We are working closely with KSRTC and as a pilot project, two LNG dispensing stations will be set up in Thiruvananthapuram and Aluva,” Yogananda Reddy, Chief General Manager and Vice President, PLL, Kochi terminals said.

The setting up of more stations will depend on the conversion rate of State-owned buses to natural gas-run buses, he said, adding that the cost involved for these dispensing stations is estimated to be around ₹7-8 crore each. “We are hoping to start the project in the current fiscal itself,”,he told BusinessLine . Besides, the company is also working with Indian Oil for setting up LNG dispensation at IOC outlets in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

KSRTC’s plans

KSRTC had chalked out-plans to convert around 3000 diesel buses to liquefied natural gas-based ones in three years at an average expenditure of ₹25 lakh per bus. In the initial phase, the company plans to convert some 50 buses to LNG. The State Government has already earmarked ₹100 crore in the Budget in this regard.

To combat the unrelenting price surge of fuels, there has been a rising demand from various quarters to develop more CNG stations in the State. Since the price of mass consumption petroleum fuels are increasing every day, it is adding to the burden of the pandemic-stricken community and institutions.

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MP Sukumaran Nair, Director of the Kochi-based Centre for Green Technology and Management said the Kochi-Mangalore natural gas pipeline is already operative and it would be ideal to put up a few automobile gas stations along this route to ease the burden of price-rise in liquid fuels to a certain extent.

As of today, the cost of fuel stands at— Petrol: ₹96.51/ litre, Diesel: ₹91.97 and CNG ₹34.70/kg in Kochi. According to him, one kg of CNG is equivalent to 1.39 litre of petrol and 1.18 litre of diesel.

He suggested that the Kerala Government should encourage public/private investors to build gas stations at places having direct access to gas pipelines.

Bhashit Dholakia, Senior Vice-President and COO, Indo-Adani Gas (IOAGPL) said the execution work of 100 + CNG stations in Kerala is in advanced stages as part of setting up a green corridor with natural gas to cater to the transportation sector. The company has earmarked 600 such stations in the next six years, he said, adding that there would be 35 per cent savings in fuel costs and 5-15 per cent on efficiency improvement and low maintenance cost compared to diesel vehicles.

IOAGPL is also converting one boat into natural gas on a pilot basis. CNG boats have been operational in Varanasi as part of the UP government project to make River Ganga pollution-free, he said.