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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 November 2018

Emirates Transport to convert vehicles to dual fuel system in bid to reduce CO2 emissions

Dual fuel systems replacing diesel-only engines will help cut costs and reduce carbon emissions, Emirates Transport said.

ABU DHABI // Emirates Transport will begin converting its diesel vehicles to dual fuel systems using compressed natural gas.

As part of a move to cut carbon emissions, the federal transport body said it is the first such conversion policy not only for the UAE, but in the Middle East.

The announcement came after a six-month trial for dual fuel engines capable of running diesel and CNG.

Maher Al Refai, technical services centre manager at the Emirates Transport, said: “We have successfully tested diesel vehicle conversion to CNG and, from December, we will start it for public and private transport.”

Since 2010, the authority has been converting petrol vehicles to use CNG. The authority will now start targeting buses, service vehicles and lorries, Mr Al Refai said, as many of these run on diesel, which is dirtier than petrol and emits more carbon dioxide.

The vehicles will be fitted with a dual fuel kit running half on CNG and half on diesel. The engine can be switched to use only one or the other at any time, Mr Al Refai said.

The dual fuel engine emits 28 per cent less carbon than traditional diesel vehicles and reduce fumes by 50 per cent and noise pollution by 40 per cent. It will also save up to 30 per cent on fuel costs, he said.

Converting diesel vehicles to use only CNG would be challenging, requiring the replacement of the entire engine, but the dual fuel system proved to be efficient, safe and successful, Mr Al Refai said.

The dual system was also adopted for safety reasons, because heavy vehicles running only on CNG could be dangerous and the conversion cost was too high, he said.

Emiratest Transport said that compared to heavy diesel vehicles, vehicles converted to run on dual systems save about 13 tonnes of CO2 per year, over an annual distance of 70 kilometres burning a litre of fuel every 2km.

The vehicles will be converted at two locations – Emirates Transport’s conversion centre in Mussaffah 1 in Abu Dhabi and Al Qusais in Dubai.

“Already we have orders from Dubai airports to convert its 1,000 diesel vehicles,” Mr Al Refai said.

About 75 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s taxi fleet of some 7,000 vehicles has been converted, while more than 750 police vehicles have had their systems overhauled, he said.

Some drivers have expressed concerns about how they will refuel their vehicles, but by the end of the year, most petrol stations in the capital will be equipped with a CNG terminal, he said. Three will be built in Al Ain and one in the Western Region.

In Dubai, two petrol stations have CNG terminals and there will be an option of free mobile CNG filling vehicles available on call, said Mr Al Refai.

“Now our plan is to equip all Adnoc gas stations with one CNG terminal to ease refuelling of CNG,” he said.

anwar@thenational.ae