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TERI suggests alternative auto fuel policy

By Our Staff Correspondent

NEW DELHI, FEB. 10. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has recommended the use of ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD) and the compressed natural gas (CNG) as transport fuel in the country to achieve the Euro-IV norms for addressing increasing environmental concerns. The Euro-IV norms are being introduced in Europe from next year.

Releasing a report on "Fuel Choices for Transport and the Environment,'' brought out in collaboration with the Department of Transport, U.K., TERI points out that the Centre should accelerate the introduction of more stringent emission standards based on the desired ambient air quality. The report was released by the Planning Commission chairperson, K.C. Pant who sought proper policy framework to cope with increasing transport services and its impact on environment with focus on health. The National Fuel Policy should certainly be directed towards ensuring sufficient, reliable and economic fuel supplies to support economic and social development.

As refineries around the world gradually move to higher quality transport fuels to meet the increasingly stringent norms in different countries, the Indian refineries will have to match such specifications within the same period to remain competitive, it says.

An analysis of the tests carried out by TERI reveals that the poor performance of CNG could arise from lack of regular maintenance of air, fuel mixture in the carburettor and the vehicle as a whole, and difference in the chemical composition of the natural gas supplied to each bus from time to time. The increase in emissions could be over 10 times for pollutants such as carbon monoxide and particulate matter. "Periodic inspection and maintenance is therefore of primary importance to bring down the emissions of regulated pollutants to the stipulated level,'' it says.

Of the fuels suggested by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, vehicles based on electricity have, as yet, to overcome disadvantages in terms of lower durability, low range of vehicles in terms of distance travelled with each battery, and higher costs. The report further points out that the use of LPG in the transport sector has been hampered by the lack of a distribution and dispensing network in cities. Moreover, the environmental and health benefits of using LPG in domestic cooking and heating applications far outweigh the benefits of using it as a transport fuel.

According to the report, the choice of significantly clean fuels is then reduced to CNG and ULSD. Since natural gas import infrastructure is still being developed, CNG is primarily a long-term option for widespread use in transport. The ULSD can be supplied through the existing liquid fuel supply infrastructure with minimal investment, though the problem of adulteration would have to be addressed in case multiple grades of diesel are available at the same time.

Progressive reduction of sulphur in diesel by itself, without using a diesel oxidation catalyst, reduces the emissions of particulate matter: using a 350-ppm-sulphur grade reduces them by 26 per cent and using 50-ppm-maximum-sulphur grade reduces them further by 19 per cent.

Even more significant reductions (about 97 per cent) are possible if the 50-ppm-grade is combined with an appropriate particle filter as an emission control device in the tailpipe of the exhaust.

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