Auto Gas as an Alternative Fuel for Consumer Vehicles in India.

Auto Gas: An Alternate Fuel for Consumer Vehicles in India.

 

Auto LPG is a clean auto fuel with lesser proportion of polluting elements such as Carbon Monoxide. It was an economical fuel in terms of cost advantage vis-à-vis other auto fuels.

Auto Gas (LPG) is a clean, high octane, abundant and eco-friendly fuel. It is obtained from natural gas through fractionation and from crude oil through refining. It is a mixture of petroleum gases like propane and butane. The higher energy content in this fuel results in a 10% reduction of CO2 emission as compared to MS.

Auto Gas is a gas at atmospheric pressure and normal temperatures, but it can be liquefied when moderate pressure is applied or when the temperature is sufficiently reduced. This property makes the fuel an ideal energy source for a wide range of applications, as it can be easily condensed, packaged, stored and utilised. When the pressure is released, the liquid makes up about 250 times its volume as gas, so large amounts of energy can be stored and transported compactly.

The use of LPG as an automotive fuel has become legal in India with effect from April 24, 2000, albeit within the prescribed safety terms and conditions. Hitherto, the thousands of LPG vehicles running in various cities have been doing so illegally by using domestic LPG cylinders, a very unsafe practice. Using domestic LPG cylinders in automobiles is still illegal.

The fuel is marketed by Indian Oil under the Brand name ‘Auto Gas’.

Indian Oil has setup 232 Auto LPG Dispensing Stations (ALDS) covering 124 cities across India.

Auto Gas impacts greenhouse emissions less than any other fossil fuel when measured through the total fuel cycle. Conversion of petrol to Auto Gas helps substantially reduce air pollution caused by vehicular emissions.

The saving on account of conversion to Auto Gas in comparison to petrol is about 35-40%. Low filling times and the 35-40% saving is a reason enough for a consumer to convert his vehicle to Auto Gas.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a mixture of hydrocarbons, which are in gaseous state at ambient temperature and pressure but these are liquefied under pressure for easy storage, handling and transportation in pressurized vessels. It is obtained through Crude Oil refining or from Natural Gas through fractionation. Butane and Propane are the main constituent hydrocarbon’s in LPG. Others present in traces or small fractions are Iso-butane, butylene, n-butane, propylene etc.

LPG is a blend of propane and butane, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) is produced either as a by-product of oil-refining, or from natural gas (methane) fields. As an alternative fuel Auto LPG it is most suited to use in cars and light vans, rather than heavy vehicles.

Performance-wise, Auto LPG vehicles drive just like petrol vehicles and are subject to the same maintenance schedules.

It is generally accepted that Auto LPG gives a 10-15 per cent carbon dioxide reduction in comparison to petrol and is on a par with diesel. Auto LPG also delivers 80 per cent lower nitrous oxide emissions than diesel, along with zero particulate emissions.

With effect from April 24, 2000, the use of Auto LPG as an automotive fuel was made legal in India.

The Auto LPG conversion kit follows the dual fuel system of conversion. Under this system, all gasoline parts are retained as the system allows one to start and run the vehicle with either Auto LPG or gasoline with the help of a change over switch.

The components of the Conversion Kit are: –

  1. Tank – contains the Auto LPG with capacity ranging from 30 to 100 liters.
  2. Multivalve – facilities re fuelling, has an 80% stop-fill safety. i.e. it will automatically stop filling when it reaches 80% capacity.
  3. Device that acts as a shut-off valve in the event of the rupture of Auto LPG line.
  4. LPG Solenoid Valve – allows entry as well as prevents flow of Auto LPG to the system; depending on the mode selected.
  5. Gasoline Solenoid Valve – allows entry as it prevents flow of gasoline to the system; depends on the mode selected.
  6. Electronic Control Module – regulates the flow of LPG depending on the engine RPM (only in fuel injected models)
  7. Gas / Petrol Switch – allows change over from gasoline to Auto LPG
  8. Pressure Regulator on Vaporizer – facilitates vaporization of Auto LPG from liquid state
  9. Mixer or Gas Injection – introduces the vaporized Auto LPG in the combustion chamber.

LPG is one of the safest, economical, eco friendly healthy cooking fuels for all. LPG is being used a cooking fuel’s in most urban and semi urban household’s. The rural population is also increasingly using it.

Besides domestic usage, LPG is often used as an efficient source of energy in various industrial and commercial applications. Some of the important areas where LPG is used extensively are:

 

Usage Sector Applications
Metal cutting Provides stable high temperature required for the purpose. Also provides clean cuts.
Kiln and Furnaces Used In incinerators, crematoriums, ceramic and brick kilns, For heat treatment etc.
Process Industries Extensively used in Glass, automobile and textile industries for glass blowing, paint drying/ surface coating and singing activities. Also used by Electronics industry involved in TV picture tube manufacturing etc.
Fabrication Used for providing homogeneous temperature bath required for melting operations with lead, sulphur and carbon free burning ensuring high quality of production specification
Poultry Used for used in Poultry rearing with accurate temperature controls
Aerosol Used as an propellant in aerosol cartridges
Industrial processing Used for instant and controlled drying processes right from curing of fibre glass to tea leaves drying and dry roasting of nuts
Radiant Heating Used for heating purposes both in homes and industrial and commercial complexes
Generators Used as a clean eco friendly fuel for running the generators even in the closed premises
Hotels and Cook Houses Used for all possible cooking skills from boiling, stewing, simmering, baking, grilling and roasting to braising

 

Auto LPG Kit – The Conversion Procedure :

 

Converting from Petrol to CNG or LPG is just a matter of adding a few accessories. No existing component will be removed.

Firstly, we apply for R.T.O permission to convert your vehicle to dual fuel (LPG or CNG)

Secondly, the tank is fitted in the boot of the car and the fuel pipes layed right next to the existing fuel pipes. This ensures the speed breakers do not touch the fuel pipes.

Thirdly, a device called “The Vaporizor” is fitted in the engine compartment alongwith an air-gas mixing device which is fitted above the carburator or in case of MPFI engine, to the throtle body.

 

Fourthly, the wiring is done and a LED switch is fitted on your dash board. This switch enables you to switch between gas and petrol and the LED lights also indicate the quantum of gas in the fuel tank. The first three processes take between five to six hours.

Entire process from start to finish is carried out totally by us. You simply leave the vehicle with us in the morning and by evening the conversion is completed. The next day morning the vehicle is taken to the RTO for approval and by afternoon you have the converted and approved vehicle back in your hands.

It’s as easy as saying 1-2-3-4-5.

Auto Gas is the brand name of Auto LPG marketed by IndianOil. Till date, 128 ALDS have been set up in Metros / Major Cities. Another 15 ALDSs have been mechanically completed & are likely to be commissioned within two months. ALDS contact details are given in the attached file. Based on the demand, ALDSs will be set up in various other cities . Presently ALDS are being set up at existing petrol stations only.

The consumption of AutoLPG is approx. 5 to 10 % more as compared to petrol for running the same number of kilometers. However, the price of AutoLPG per liter is apprx. 33% less than petrol (for Mumbai). Hence , there is saving of almost 24% on fuel cost.)

The table below indicates the advantages of AutoLPG vis a vis petrol (for Mumbai): as per 2008 Data:

Description Mumbai
Auto-LPG Petrol
Mileage (Km/Litre) 16 18
Conversion Cost (Rs) 18000
Fuel Prices,

Rs. / litre

37.11 55.04
Cost Per Km 2.32 3.06
Savings, Rs./Km 0.74
Saving in % 24.15
Break enent at Kms 24377

 

The exhaust emissions of vehicles running of AutoLPG emit

75 % less CO

85 % less Hydrocarbons

40 % less NO

87 % less Ozone depletion as compared to vehicles running on petrol.

Conversion kits approved by authorized Govt Agencies like ARAI (Automobile Research Association of India , Pune ) and VRDE ( Vehicle Research and Development Establishment, Ahmednagar) only should be used.

Only fixed LPG tanks should be fitted in the vehicle. Domestic LPG cylinders should not be used as they are potential safety hazards.

The conversion of the vehicle to run on LPG ( Retro-fitment) should be carried out at an authorized conversion center approved by RTO.

The RC book should be endorsed by the RTO once the conversion of the vehicle is completed. Refuelling of AutoLPG should be done only at AutoLPG dispensing stations set up by IOCL / Oil Companies at existing Retail Outlets.

The cost of legal conversion ( including approved conversion kit, CCOE approved LPG fuel tanks, piping, fitment charges and RTO endorsement ) is approx. Rs.15000/- to Rs.25000/- depending on type of vehicle.

However, lot of spurious conversion kits with domestic LPG Cylinder have been introduced in the market (illegal and without RTO approvals) which cost only Rs.5000/- to Rs.8000/-. These spurious kits do not yield optimum engine performance and emissions. The use of domestic LPG cylinder coupled with the entire fitment done by road side untrained mechanics further increase the safety hazards.

 

Awareness is being created through periodic press advts. Urging the customers to buy approved conversion kits only.

IOCL has recently entered into a tie-up with 07 leading approved LPG kit manufacturers for marketing of their kits from IOCL Retail Outlets. Wherever space permits , it is planned to do the conversion of the vehicle also at the Retail Outlets. The AutoLPG Dispensing Station (ALDS) is being developed as the nodal centre where a customer can purchase the approved conversion kit, get his vehicle converted through trained personnel and get the endorsement in the RC book by the RTO besides purchasing Auto LPG fuel.

Auto Gas can be used for all petrol driven vehicles ( spark ignition engines) including two wheelers. Presently AutoLPG is permitted to be used only for 3 / 4 wheelers.
ARAI approval is awaited for 2 wheelers to run on Auto LPG.

Compressed Natural Gas has been accepted as an alternative fuel by the public at large. The stage is set for expanding the network to other cities. The success of CNG Expansion Program would depend on many factors. The key factors being the economy of CNG vis-à-vis other conventional fuels, adherence to safety guidelines and the Government Support.

Auto LPG is also launched on a large scale in the country. At the end of the day, it will be the quality of the fuel and economics which would be important parameters for the commercial success of auto fuel. The emphasis would be on fuels with lowest emissions. However, CNG is here for the time being till a better fuel is discovered offering better economics to the users.

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