In a major step towards making India a gas-based economy and making CNG as the eco-friendly option for long distance transport in the country, India's first long distance CNG bus was started, fitted with composite CNG cylinders, which can travel around 1000 km in a single fill.
The project has been executed by Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) and has been achieved through pioneering design of Type IV Composite Cylinders in buses, replacing traditional very heavy Type-I Carbon Steel cylinders.
These CNG buses are being run on pilot basis, but soon they will be scaled on commercial basis.
The introduction of long range CNG buses fitted with light weight composite cylinders has the capacity to revolutionize the fight against air pollution across the nation. Even after shifting of the entire public transport fleet in the national capital to CNG as per mandate of Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, inter-state buses coming from other cities to Delhi continued to run on diesel.
Delhi Transport Corporation had stopped all its inter-state routes in 2001 due to unavailability of CNG in the neighboring states. CNG buses are on Indian Roads for more than two decades now but due to on-board storage issues these buses are having a range of 200-250 km per fill only, thus the application of CNG buses in short distance or Intra City Transport only.
Mahindra & Mahindra, & Agility Fuel Solutions of USA have partnered with IGL for this project, involving introducing the new concept of light weight Type IV composite cylinders in buses. These cylinders are 70% lighter than the Type - I (all steel) cylinders which are being used in India currently. The main advantage of these Cylinders is that due to its lighter weight, the number of cylinders can be increased in the vehicle thus creating more storage capacity on-board.
The buses which used to carry only 80-100 Kg of CNG with steel cylinders can carry 225-275 Kg of CNG with new composite cylinders. More storage of CNG means more km range of buses. Buses fitted with Type IV Composite Cylinders have a running range of approx. 800 - 1000 km per fill of CNG.
IGL has procured five Mahindra's Type IV buses. The Buses would be given to Uttarakhand Transport Corporation (UTC) on lease basis after the launch. These will ply on Inter-city routes from Delhi to Dehradun and will be the first CNG Buses in Uttarakhand. Now with this launch, DTC and other State Transport Corporations can again start their long haul operations through CNG Buses.