Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, a production unit of Indian Railways, has flagged off the first compressed natural gas (CNG) -fuelled Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU), reports The Hindu. Developed by Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuels (IROAF), a unit of the Ministry of Railways (MOR), the powered rail car is one of several to be commissioned before end of 2014.
IROAF states that with the growing concern for better environment and less obnoxious gases in atmosphere natural gas has emerged as a viable solution for replacement of diesel. Cost effectiveness will be another advantage.
According to the preamble of the MOR tender issued in 2010, “Realising the importance of CNG as an alternate fuel, the concept of retro fitment of CNG kit in the present engine of DEMU without any major changes in the existing system is being taken up by the Indian Railways. This work envisages supply of necessary kit for conversion of 40 DPCs on the Indian Railways and also necessary modification and testing of the converted dual fuel DEMU Diesel Power Car.”
IROAF has the mandate to convert existing Diesel Power Cars (DPCs) into dual fuel with natural gas. The conversion of 10 DPCs is in progress and two DPCs are already running on dual fuel with fumigation technology. According to OROAF’s website, remaining DPCs will get converted by end of this year 2014.
Other technology called in-port technology which gives better diesel substitution is also being implemented in 40 other DPCs for which work is in progress.
The CNG-powered DEMU is fitted with a gas cascade room at the rear which reportedly houses 40 cylinders, each with a capacity to store 15 kg of CNG at 255 bar pressure.
At least some CNG conversion kits are reportedly being supplied by Cummins India Limited.
In recognition of the demand for space from CNG systems, IROAF is also investigating the viability of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as an alternative fuel. A project for conversion of 20 DE ALCO locomotives to dual fuel mode with LNG as substitute fuel was sanctioned last year.