Tata Motors has just launched India’s first Bio-Methane Bus at an event called ‘Urja Utsav’ organized by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Tata has designed and developed two powertrains of Bio-Methane engines for the purpose- the 5.7 SGI & 3.8 SGI. Currently, a Bus equipped with this engine- The Tata LPO 1613 with the 5.7 SGI BS-IV IOBD-II compliant engine is already in operation under Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML).
This is a major step towards reducing the environmental pollution present in the country. The Bio-Methane, also called as Bio-CNG is a bit different from the traditional CNG engines used in Tata Marcopolo Low Floor buses. In the Normal Internal Combustion engines equipped with CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), there are gases other than methane which is present, (though most of it is methane) In the Bio- Methane engines, the gases present completely consist of Methane. Other than that, producing Bio- Methane is much easier as it is composed out of bio-degradable materials like kitchen waste. Since the degradation and conversion of such materials into gases is a natural process, the gases could be used and trapped to run engines which could put the gases into good use as well as reduce the dangerous effects of fossil fuels such as Petrol on the environment.
The need for reducing global emissions is ever increasing, and we need more steps and measures in order to change the way we use fuels. Currently, India is home to millions of Petrol vehicles which pollute the environment. In April 2017, the Power Minister Mr. Piyush Goel said “We are going to introduce electric vehicles in a very big way. We are going to make electric vehicles self- sufficient like UJALA. The idea is that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country”. While this statement was a highly ambitious one considering the fact that it won’t be so easy to replace the current running vehicles with electric ones in a span of 13 years. Another fact is that the figures of global output of electric cars in the world right now needs to expand at an outrageous rate in order to achieve such a target, which at the current time, does not seem to be possible.
While there have been efforts for the introduction of electric cars in India. The only couple of known electric cars- the Mahindra e2o Plus and the Mahindra e-Verito aren’t really attracting consumers. In countries like the US, the market for electric cars could be expected to boom in the near future considering the demand and sales the electric cars of Tesla have witnessed.
In India though, it’s a different scene altogether. Not only does the government need to introduce more electric vehicles in the form of Public Transport, there is also a need to introduce charging stations for electric vehicle technologies. Not just that, if any electric vehicles are to be sold in the near future, they need to be priced at a level where the customers would be interested in purchasing them.
Considering that there have been some good developments recently in this field, there’s still hope that India’s objective of completely eliminating petrol and diesel vehicles becomes fruitful, if not by 2030, at least a few years after.