Railways to go LNG way for lesser carbon footprints

Railways to go LNG way for lesser carbon footprints

The Indian Railways and the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) have signed a MoU to explore the potential of LNG in a substantial manner in locomotives, factories and workshops.
"The induction of LNG in railways is likely to be in a phase-wise manner. We will begin with industrial uses in factories to usage in diesel multiple units and then in mainline diesel locomotives," a senior Railway Ministry official said.

Railways is currently dependent on refined petroleum products such as high speed diesel for locomotives and furnace oil in workshops and factories. At the moment, the transport behemoth uses approximately 250 crore litre of high speed diesel for locomotives annually.

"It costs around Rs 10,000 crore for the fuel and even if we manage to reduce 10 per cent of diesel consumption then the Railways' saving will be Rs 1,000 crore in a year," the official said.

LNG opens up immense possibilities to use this low cost and environment-friendly fuel both for industrial and traction purposes. It is sourced from the Middle East in special tankers with cryogenic facilities.

The fuel must be delivered to the end user through a 'cold chain' of cryogenic tanks and storages and special cryogenic road tankers.

"Due to the cumbersome and somewhat expensive storage and transportation facilities, large scale use of LNG has not taken off in areas far from the western coast. Now that cryogenic cold chain is becoming affordable, LNG can be used on a large scale," he said. The agreement between Railways and IOC is expected to open up new possibilities and act as a catalyst in the Indian industry towards adoption of LNG as a primary fuel.
"Major savings in fuel cost are expected with Railways switching over to LNG in a substantial manner," the official said.

Railways has undertaken a series of steps to reduce green house gas emission as part of its green initiatives. It has already embarked upon a project to use CNG in its fleet of diesel multiple units.

In addition, Railways have also begun work on the largest project in India to introduce bio diesel in transportation sector. "Two bio diesel etherification plants with a capacity of 30 tonnes per day each are being set up to give a boost to adoption of this green fuel in locomotives," he said.

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