Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is planning to restart interstate passenger services after an eight-year hiatus, with buses using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to commence a pilot project around the national capital from February 2019.
DTC ceased interstate activity when the entire fleet switched to CNG in 2010 and because of challenges with range of operations using steel cylinders. At that time the CNG refueling network was only available in cities, but the recent push by the government to move to a gas-based economy has heightened investment in piped gas networks and refueling infrastructure.
Type IV carbon composite cylinders have been imported for use in the trial and if the pilot is successful, the cylinders will be manufactured in India. Approval of this cylinder type is in accordance with India’s amended Gas Cylinders Rules 2015.
The carbon composite cylinders are lighter and more can be carried onboard buses, hugely extending the range. The existing ordinary CNG buses have five steel cylinders with a capacity of 100 kg fuel top up. The new buses will have seven fibre cylinders which can store up to 300 kg CNG.
The Times of India reports the existing ordinary bus cost is about Rs 32 lakh (USD 45,700), while the one with fibre cylinder would cost Rs 39 lakh ($ 55,700) as each cylinder cost is Rs one lakh ($1,430 per unit).
Dubbed ‘green corridors’ because of the use of CNG as a fuel that is significantly cleaner for bus operations than diesel, routes are proposed for the busy highways from Delhi to Agra, Jaipur, Haridwar and Chandigarh.