Indian Railways has launched the country's first CNG train, a move that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also helping to reduce the Railway's fuel bill by reducing diesel consumption.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the first train, which will run on diesel and CNG, on the Rewari-Rohtak section of northern zone on Tuesday.
The Railways use a modified 1,400 HP engine to run on dual fuel - diesel and CNG - through fumigation technology.
There are two power cars and six car coaches, with a passenger capacity of 770, which have been manufactured by Integral Coach Factory at Chennai with the CNG conversion kits supplied by Cummins.
Currently, CNG would account for 20 per cent of the fuel requirements of the modified 1400 BHP engine. This will increase up to 50 per cent CNG usage once the final trials are completed.
CNG engines emit lesser pollutants (especially green house gases) and almost no particulate contaminants. These engines emit 90 per cent less carbon monoxide, and 25 per cent less carbon di-oxide. This obviously reduces the carbon-impact on the environment.
These engines will also reduce running costs by 50 per cent.
Development of a CNG conversion technology, which will permit utilisation of over 60 per cent of CNG, is also under way, Prabhu said, adding, "Switchover to LNG technology is also being planned as that will enable higher fuel carrying capacity."
Railways has opened a separate environment directorate for adapting to the use of alternative fuel, including solar and wind power, to reduce dependence on conventional energy.