GNF Introduces Major Taxi CNG Conversion Program in Mexico

| Mexico, Monterrey

“Switching Monterrey” is the name of a new program being financed by Gas Natural Fenosa (GNF) in the capital of the Mexico’s northeastern state of Nuevo León. The initiative is intended to facilitate the conversion of 1,000 taxis to compressed natural gas (CNG), and marks the beginning of what Country Manager of Gas Natural Fenosa in Mexico, Narcís de Carreras, says is the first step to promoting natural gas fuel as a more economic and cleaner alternative to conventional fuels.

GNF will fund the program to the extent of 35 million pesos (USD 1.85 million) at a preferential rate, available to fleet and private operators. It will collaborate with other investors and developers in the value chain: workshops, funding and government agencies, to achieve this goal.

The cost of the conversion of 34.900 pesos (USD 1,850) per car will be covered by taxi drivers benefitting from the program with savings of about 40% derived from the use of natural gas in place of gasoline, without having to make an additional outlay for funding. Those receiving funding will be committed to a fixed monthly consumption over 18 and 24 months to cover the payment thereof, which can save up to 20% over the period of financing. A taxi travelling 200 kms per day may be able to repay financing in around 12 months.

GNF intends to have the conversions completed by year end. The company estimates this will represent a reduction of emissions at least 4,220 tonnes of CO2 a year with the conversion of these 1,000 cars. The possibility remains open for additional funding being made available to extend the program.

At the same time, GNF will add five new CNG refuelling stations in conjunction with private investors to the existing network. The new stations will be located at Escobedo (1), Guadeloupe (1), Santa Catarina (1) and Monterrey (2). Current stations are to be found at Monterrey (3), Guadalupe (2) and Santa Catarina (1).

“It is important to start generating a culture of using CNG either by purchasing vehicles designed at the factory for use of CNG or conversion of existing fleets, a simple process that only requires the installation of a conversion kit,” said Rene Sanchez, head of Energy Solutions for GNF (Mexico).

Carreras explained that at present there are only about 5,000 natural gas vehicles (NGV) in Mexico; the conversion of more vehicles and installation of new refuelling points will drive up CNG consumption and reduce pollution levels. “In addition Monterrey taxi drivers will have access to an alternate, competitive, secure and available fuel,” he said.

At an international natural gas seminar organised by GNF in Mexico in June, Engineer Angel Larraga Palacios, President of Gas Natural Fenosa, detailed plans to expand CNG uptake in Mexico City: “The plan is to convert in 10 years 90% of the fleet of trucks and taxis from Mexico City to CNG. Our plan also includes the installation of 10 CNG stations in Mexico City, which when added to the existing three, will be able to supply 10 thousand vehicles per day.”

At the event, Angel Larraga also explained that in the country there is the challenge of developing networks of stations for vehicles to be refueled. “In Mexico there are 3,000 kilometers of distribution network. If we build 7,000 km of the existing network, the possibilities of expanding the stations is greater. ” He proposed working with existing fuel station operators to develop multi-fuel facilities.

(Source: Gas Natural Fenosa, Mexico)

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