The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) plans to convert more than 500 public vehicles and taxis to natural gas by next year as part of an initiative to reduce air pollution in the capital, reports The National. ADNOC will set up conversion workshops and compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations across the emirate and part of Northern Emirates.
ADNOC is supported in this endeavour by partners the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, Civil Defence, Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters, the Federal Environment Agency, the Mubadala (mandated to facilitate the diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy) and the Department of Transport, reports MENAFM.com
A total of 117 vehicles have apparently already undergone the conversion. ADNOC is also currently converting, at no charge, 25 Abu Dhabi Company for Offshore Oil Operations (Adco) cars and more than 79 taxis. Additionally, private vehicles may soon be eligible for conversion.
Emirates Transport natural gas conversion centre director, Maher al Rafai, has said that motorists using natural gas are likely to be travelling same distances at half their current fuel cost, once infrastructure is established and CNG is available at the fuel dispenser.
One of the reasons for the slow roll-out to date of CNG filling stations is that Abu Dhabi’s supply of gas for fuelling power and industrial plants has lagged as demand has risen while development of new sources has been delayed. Despite sitting on the world’s seventh largest gas reserves, both the emirate and the UAE are net gas importers, according to a PetrolPlaza report last year.
The ADNOC facilities will include Bauer compressors. Bauer installed its first unit into an ADNOC CNG station opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in May 2010. At that time Bauer reportedly signed a contract for delivery of twelve more plants.
“Bauer Kompressoren is successfully building a network of gas filling stations in Abu Dhabi,” the Munich-based group announced at the time. “The Masdar City facility is Abu Dhabi’s first productive CNG filling station and Bauer Kompressoren has plans to open more in the emirate.”
Maher al Rafai also pointed out that unlike petrol, which pools on the ground and creates a fire hazard in the event of an accident, compressed natural gas (CNG) readily dissipates into the air. Natural gas also has a high ignition temperature, about 600°C, compared to about 315°C for petrol.
The National report says there are 17 natural gas pumps across the UAE, including 11 in Abu Dhabi, two in Al Ain and four in Sharjah.
The Asia-Pacific Natural Gas Vehicles Association (ANGVA) will conduct an event entitled CNG-NGV: ANGVA Roundtable UAE 2011 in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from 27 February to 1 March, 2011, aimed at further promoting natural gas vehicle (NGV) utilization in the region. Details on the ANGVA website.