As prices of traditional energy sources are rising, alternative fuels to replace conventional energies could bring greater economic efficiency. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) are the two new options.
LPG and CNG bring clear-cut benefits
An investment project to install fuel converter sets to use LPG instead of gasoline in its 350 seven-seat taxis combined with the establishment of five local LPG stations have been coordinated by the Cuu Long PetroGas Transportation JSC and the Ho Chi Minh City Energy Conservation Center since 2009, helping reduce 195,104 TOE and 616.98 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, saving more than VND6.3 billion.
To promote the use of LPG, the Petroleum Taxi fleet using LPG was established in 2007 and has now comprised of nearly 1,000 cars, mainly running in the cities of Ho Chi Minh, Vung Tau and Hanoi.
According to experts, while gasoline prices have tended to fluctuate, LPG instead has proved an effective solution because it can help maintain a 25-percent fuel and a 13-percent total cost savings compared to conventional gasoline. In addition, LPG is a clean fuel with flue gas concentration almost equal to zero, CO2 emissions less than 20 percent, CO emissions less than 50 percent, organic content of waste gas less than 40 percent, and NO2 emissions less than 35 percent compared to gasoline. In addition, LPG and CNG are environmentally friendly and when used for cars, these fuels will not corrode the engine.
Director of Ho Chi Minh City Energy Conservation Center Huynh Kim Tuoc said, "The conversion from gasoline to LPG has been implemented in many countries around the world and brought greater economic and environmental efficiency. Vietnam has a huge potential in LPG and CNG as they are products obtained after oil extraction process and capable of meeting the needs of domestic use."
By a rough reckoning, to install a fuel converter set in a car will cost transport companies about VND20 million. However, these costs can be offset within three years.
Possible bright future for LPG and CNG
Although the use of LPG and CNG are becoming increasingly common, there are a lot of difficulties transport companies may encounter during the expansion of this model in the future.
Director of Ministry of Transport's Environment Department Chu Manh Hung said, "The lack of LPG supply stations remains an unsolved issue, even in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. One of the main reasons for this is high installation costs which may reach VND0.7-2 billion.
The lack of LPG supply stations combined with the lack of standards for cleaner fuels in general and LPG and CNG in particular, have worsened the expansion of LPG and CNG as new fuels.
LPG and CNG remain alternative fuels with huge potential for the future, considering their economic and environmental efficiency. Therefore, after completing the mentioned investment projects, Cuu Long PetroGas Transportation JSC plans to replicate the model in harmony with its client's needs and continue to make intensive investment in LPG and CNG-using vehicles.
It was too early to confirm a future for these clean fuels, but the positive participation of local companies promises an expansion in LPG and CNG use and also creates an impetus for the development of LPG and CNG-using vehicles./.