x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

CNG vehicle conversion centre to open in Northern Emirates

The centre will be the federal government authority’s fourth and will be able to convert petrol vehicles so they can also use CNG, which is more environmentally friendly than traditional fuels.

Emirates Transport is to open its first compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle conversion centre in the Northern Emirates by the end of the year. Ravindranath K / The National
Emirates Transport is to open its first compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle conversion centre in the Northern Emirates by the end of the year. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // Emirates Transport is to open its first compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle conversion centre in the Northern Emirates by the end of the year.

It will be the federal government authority’s fourth facility and will be able to convert petrol vehicles so they can also use CNG, which is friendlier to the environment than traditional fuels.

“The fourth conversion centre has been approved between Ajman and Sharjah, which will be ready by December,” said Mahir Al Sayed Al Rafaee, the manager of CNG centres at Emirates Transport.

The authority has been converting mainly government petrol vehicles, such as taxis and buses, since 2011 but it intends to also start converting diesel vehicles from January.

Two diesel buses have already been converted for CNG on a trial basis and Mr Al Rafaee said further diesel conversions were only awaiting government approval.

“So far, thousands of government and private vehicles have been converted to be environmentally friendly in the emirate [Abu Dhabi] and we are expanding our reach to public and private-sector vehicles,” Mr Al Rafaee said.

“More than 2,600 vehicles have been converted for CNG so far, in which 95 per cent are government vehicles from different entities.”

The three existing conversion centres are in Khalifa City A, Manasir, in Abu Dhabi city and in Zakher, Al Ain.

Emirates Transport is also adding more CNG-ready Adnoc filling stations and there will be 25 across Abu Dhabi emirate by the end of next year.

“Nine more CNG stations will be added to Adnoc gas stations in the emirate by the end of 2014,” Mr Al Rafaee said. “Currently there are 16 CNG stations in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, including in Al Ain and the Western Region.”

He said CNG was cheaper, safer and produced less greenhouse gas. “It saves fuel, money and contributes to a healthy environment.”

Mr Al Rafaee said converted vehicles could be switched back to petrol while moving if the car runs out of CNG.

Converting diesel vehicles to CNG saves 40 per cent in fuel use, while conversions from petrol to CNG in cars saves 36 per cent, though the major benefit of CNG is fewer carbon emissions.

Emirates Transport started offering conversions to private vehicles last year but there has been little demand.

Mr Al Rafaee urged owners to convert and said those wishing to do so should produce all their vehicle papers and licences.

It costs Dh7,400 to convert a four-cylinder vehicle, Dh8,000 for a six-cylinder and Dh9,400 for an eight-cylinder. The process takes between four and five hours, depending on the make and model and the conversion follows European safety standards.

The technology is also European, from Italy and Germany.

Since 2011, about 25 per cent of taxis in Abu Dhabi have been converted to CNG.

Mr Al Rafaee said the emirate’s Executive Council wanted 25 per cent of all government cars to be converted by the end of last year but this had been extended until the end of this year.

“Gradually, people are coming for conversions,” he said. “We are working with Adnoc Distributions to expand conversion centres.”

There are three sizes of CNG tanks available – 50 litres, 65l and 75l.

A 50l tank can hold 12 cubic metres of CNG and can run for about 100 kilometres.

“We have converted more than 2,000 vehicles and there has been no complaints about safety or the performance of vehicles. Converted vehicles protect the environment, which is the most important thing,” Mr Al Rafaee said.

Recent research shows a vehicle using CNG typically emits 80 per cent less nitrogen oxide, up to 70 per cent less carbon monoxide and 80 per cent less non-methane organic gas, according to the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.

anwar@thenational.ae