Anirudh Bhuwalka: Is India Ready To Adopt LNG As A Green Fuel For Commercial Vehicles?
Published On Jan 09, 2024 02:25 PM
The Indian Government is prioritising the adoption of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as it could be a game-changer in the commercial vehicle sector. Let's hear what Anirudh Bhuwalka, CEO of Blue Energy Motors, has to say. Read on
In the pursuit of a greener and more sustainable future, India stands at a crossroads in redefining its heavy-duty transportation sector. The environmental impact of conventional fuels has led the nation to ponder whether Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) could be the game-changer in the realm of commercial vehicle transportation.
With rapid industrialisation and urbanisation driving an increased demand for transportation, especially in the commercial sector, concerns about air quality and carbon emissions have risen significantly. To deal with these challenges, there is a growing momentum towards cleaner alternatives.
Therefore, LNG emerges as a promising solution, offering a cleaner and more sustainable option for commercial vehicles. Its lower emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases compared to diesel align with India's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and addressing climate change impacts.
LNG: Is It An Ideal Solution?
Anirudh Bhuwalka, CEO of Blue Energy Motors – India's first sustainable long-haul truck manufacturing company, provides a broader perspective as to why India is ready to embrace LNG as a green fuel for commercial vehicles.
Anirudh Bhuwalka says that in the current scenario, achieving zero emissions by 2070 is a top priority for India, as emphasised in COP28. The country's transportation sector accounts for about 13-15 percent of India's total CO2 emissions. Further, long-distance trucking within this sector is responsible for 35-40 percent of all road emissions.
Hence, Bhuwalka says that it is essential that any national strategy addressing climate change squarely addresses this segment.
LNG For Long-Haul Transportation
LNG, existing in cryogenic liquid form, occupies up to three times less space compared to CNG, providing higher energy density and an extended vehicle range. This quality makes LNG a better fuel for India's extensive fleet of long-haul, heavy-duty trucks currently relying on diesel. The government targets transitioning at least one million trucks to LNG by 2035 among the 10 million trucks in the country.
Bhuwalka also emphasises that incorporating LNG into trucks offers India several advantages, including lower environmental impact compared to diesel, quieter engines, and a reduction in demand for petrol and diesel. The government is also taking proactive measures, such as establishing 1,000 LNG stations along major highways within the next three years and increasing LNG capacity by 17 million tons by next year.
Current Challenges With LNG Adoption
Bhuwalka says, LNG is created by cooling natural gas to -160º C, forming a clear, colourless, and non-toxic liquid, 600 times smaller than natural gas. Given its low boiling point, there is a requirement for cryogenic containers and advanced technology to transport and store LNG. The limited infrastructure for delivering and distributing LNG at fueling stations necessitates substantial investment.
Additionally, currently, only 8 pumps are operational, which calls for accelerating the pace of new pump installations. Also, Bhuwalka says that we are still heavily reliant on imports, and global geopolitical dynamics directly affect the supply of oil and gas to India.
Does India See A Promising Opportunity?
Despite these challenges, India sees a promising opportunity. With recalibrated emission targets for 2030, LNG becomes crucial for climate and growth goals, especially in heavy trucking. Recognised as a clean, cost-effective fuel, LNG offers significant fuel cost savings and reduced environmental impact.
Aligned with the nation's commitment to COPs, the government actively plans on reducing the country's carbon footprint, positioning LNG trucks as key players in the green trucking revolution. The bridge LNG is constructing in the energy transition is nearing its completion – a cost-effective, green, clean, and safe bridge to a sustainable future.