Can NGT expand its Delhi Airport ruling to other airports across India!!!

Can NGT expand its Delhi Airport ruling to other airports across India!!!

In a welcome step to curb pollution at the IGI airport, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed that all coaches, buses and other vehicles plying at the Delhi airport be CNG operated and must comply with the prescribed emission standards.

“Non-CNG buses/coaches or other vehicles plying at the airport should be converted to CNG within six months from now,” the bench headed by Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

It also directed the Ministry of Civil Aviation ministry to ensure ‘judgement based’ use of reverse thrust by aircraft, building of sound barriers and erection of a green belt around the airport’s boundary wall.

While, NGS whole heartedly supports the NGT’s decision and appreciates the Tribunal’s commitment towards environment, the same ruling could be extended to other airports as well.


There are currently 133 airports in the country including 24 international airports, 8 custom airports and 101 domestic airports. Apart from these, another 18 greenfield airports are being taken up and have received in- principle approval from the ministry of civil aviation and are at various stages of development.

We look at airports as a potential consumer of gas serving three broad areas: the different kind of vehicles serving aircrafts/ ground facilities including buses, cars, vans, cargo vehicles etc. in form of CNG; the commercial units on the ground such as the kitchens, restaurants etc. in form of cooking gas and; the heating/cooling consumption in form of electricity currently being used at the airport. We estimate that even if the upcoming/ planned airports include gas in their project implementation for the above purposes there could be good potential for gas consumption in the sector. Potential is likely from the upcoming airports and the bulk of the demand is expected from captive power requirement.

Besides the new airports, there is expansion, upgradation and modernization being undertaken at the existing airports such as Mumbai airport which opens up another demand area for gas for their power supply additions, vehicles fuelling as well as supplies to commercial units. In addition we could consider additional demand from the existing airports for ground handling. As of now, it is difficult to quantify the demand, but depending on stakeholders’ seriousness, the potential from existing and upcoming airports could hold immense promise for gas utilization.

Around the world several developments are taking place with respect to use of LNG/CNG in diesel locomotives. Road tests to examine technical requirements of space, weight, refrigeration, and autonomy for the traction of natural gas, in addition to other considerations and comparative variables in emissions and operating economy are being done. Omnitek Engineering Corp. has received international certification for its patented fuel rail technology, based on tests conducted by an independent agency and standards sanctioned by the United Nationals Economic Commission for Europe, specifically UN ECE R110. Russian Railways and domestic machine builders Sinara Group and Transmash Holding (TMH) have embarked upon a new phase of development for the wider use of natural gas to fuel locomotives in Russia. We could learn from their experience and accelerate our own initiative towards use of gas in locomotives.

Gas for Roads: Huge potential

In the diesel segment, considering only trucks and buses as targets for conversion, 100% replacement of diesel would translate to about 38% of 75 million tonnes, i.e. 28.5 million tonnes or 101 mmscmd of gas. At 10% replacement the potential gas demand would be 10 mmscmd of gas, at 20% it would be 20 mmscmd and at 50% about 50 mmscmd. A more realistic option would be that henceforth focus should be on factory fitted CNG/ LNG heavy vehicles. If commercial vehicles (8.94%), 3 wheelers (6.39%) and industrial gensets (4.06%) also were to consider switching to gas, this would amount to another 19.39% in all i.e. 14.54 million tonnes or 52 mmscmd of potential gas demand at 100% replacement. However, on a very optimistic level the potential for such conversions would be between 10% – 20%.

In the petrol segment, the most likely conversion from petrol to gas can be in the 3 wheelers and utility vehicles segments which would translate into 3.3 mmscmd of gas. However, if we include the car segment, then the potential to consume natural gas would increase by 5.8 mmscmd of gas at 20% conversion rate.

In terms of total volume (diesel+petrol), therefore, there is additional potential to utilize natural gas of around 25 mmscmd of additional gas over the next 5 years at a conservative estimate provided we consider locating CNG/LNG retail stations on high density national highways in the country.

The Indian government has also allowed LNG to be used as transport fuel in the country and the government is framing a policy to spread LNG fuel stations across the country. According to reports, the national auto fuel LNG policy will be framed in the ongoing year and its standards would be defined by different ministries. The transport ministry has also entered into a pact with Petronet LNG in this regard.India’s first LNG-fuelled bus was launched in November in Kochi and Petronet LNG, IOC and Tata Motors are working to introduce LNG as a fuel in commercial vehicles in Kochi.

Also Consider this.

The transport ministry has recently announced the Government would invest Rs 25 trillion (US$ 376.53 billion) in infrastructure over the next five years. This includes Rs 8 trillion (US$ 120.49 billion) for developing 27 industrial clusters and an additional Rs 5 trillion (US$ 75.30 billion) for road, railway and port connectivity projects. The aviation ministry has laid down about 50 greenfield/brownfield airport projects to be undertaken in the next five years. NGS has done a dipstick on all these potential segments where gas can be replaced or included in future projects and the Transport sector (Road,Rail,Marine,Waterways) emerges as one of the highest potential bright spots.

CITy GAS DISTRIBUTIoN/Replacement of LSHS, Fo:

If we factor in the expected increase of city gas distribution network from the present 78 allocated GAs to “about 100 operative GAs over the next 3 to 5 years”, we could expect another 10 mmscmd of potential gas demand from the CGD sector in addition to the current consumption of around 17 mmscmd.

Essentially the consumption of fuel oil (LSHS +FO) in the country should give us a fair indication of fuel oil used in industries across India in industrial estates as well as stand-alone small/medium industries. Natural gas is a natural replacement for fuel oil, a dirty fuel, which is primarily being used in manufacturing industries because of availability and price advantage over gas. Since 2014-15, the increase in furnace oil consumption has impacted natural gas sales at the cost to the environment.

Transport – Marine/Waterways: According to estimates, shipping accounts for up to 30% of the total global NOX emissions and 9% of SOX. LNG emits zero sulphur oxides (SOX) and virtually zero particulate matter. Compared to existing heavy marine fuel oils, LNG can, depending on the technology used, emit 90% less nitrous oxides (NOX) and 20-25% less carbon dioxide (CO2).

Marine sector is an area where significant natural gas potential exists today and in the future. However, we need to standardize the technical requirements for inland waterway vessels across the country. This could be in line with European standards. Use of LNG should also be a useful contributor towards meeting key overall objectives in transport and environmental policy such as improvement of air quality, minimization of greenhouse gas emissions.

The working group WPCI (World Ports Climate Initiative) of the AIPH (International Association of Ports and Harbors) has three lists drawn up for the bunkering of LNG (bunkering tanker to ship, ship-to-ship and ship-to- shore) by ships using LNG for their propulsion. These can be adopted in Indian ports for Truck-to-Ship transfer (TTS) which is the most frequently used at the moment globally, Ship-to-Ship (STS) bunkering is generally considered the most favourable option for LNG bunkering. With the International Maritime Organization (IMO) cutting the sulphur cap for ships from the 3.5% m/m (mass/mass) global limit currently in place, down to 0.50% m/m, effective January 1, 2020, proactive shipping companies and passenger transporters with LNG-fuelled vessels already operating or under construction are well-positioned to comply.

India is also working on promoting LNG as marine fuel for ships using inland waterways. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Petronet LNG last year signed MoU for providing an LNG based mode of transport on national waterways. Both the options of switching over from the existing diesel to LNG barges and introduction of new LNG barges are being considered. Petronet LNG Limited will design, construct and operate LNG unloading, storage, bunkering and reloading facilities on the national waterways. To start with, both will work together to develop the operation of LNG barges on Ganga, National Waterway-1, by the end of 2018.

Transport – Railways: Under the first Biennial Update Report to UNFCCC, MoEF has indicated the establishment of Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuels where efforts for replacement of diesel with CNG/LNG use of would be supported. This is one area where natural gas is expected to be encouraged. Railways are also understood to be considering using LNG/CNG to cut down on diesel consumption initially by 20%. This could translate to 8 mmscmd of gas demand in long term as an alternative to diesel from the Railways sector.

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