M a r k e t N e w s

Tanzania: BRT Buses to Run on Natural Gas In Next Phase

Posted on : Tuesday, 5th July 2016

Buses to ply in the next phases of the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (BRT) project will have their engines run using natural gas to save operational costs, the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) has revealed.

 
"Plans were to use natural gas for buses currently operating in the first phase of the BRT but this was not possible due to some technicalities," a TPDC official, Mr Ismail Naleja, explained at the ongoing 40th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF).
 
He ruled out the possibility of converting the operating systems of buses currently plying in the BRT since their engines are diesel-run.
 
"It could have been possible to modify the operating systems if the motor vehicles were using petrol. Diesel-run engines are not compatible with systems used in natural gas," the official explained.
 
At present, there are 60 motor vehicles in the country, which have had their engines modified to use petrol and natural gas but the official was positive that the number will significantly increase when the BRT buses will start using natural gas in their next phases.
 
He called on Tanzanians to modify their vehicles to use gas, which is abundantly available in the country as it was cheaper compared to petroleum products.
 
Mr Naleja explained that TPDC was in touch with the BRT operators to ensure that buses imported for the next phases are compatible to natural gas use, which will significantly reduce operating costs for the modern public transport project. "With the use of natural gas, even fares would be lower.
 
One kilogramme of gas covers a distance where one and half litre of petrol or diesel is used. "One would part with 1,500/- for one kilogramme of gas and yet one and half litre of fuel costs about 3,000/-.
 
In the same vein, a vehicle using natural gas will be serviced once while that of petrol and diesel will be serviced twice in the same period," he explained.
 
On the other hand, the use of natural gas in motor vehicles is deemed environmentally-friendly since it does not involve carbon emissions as opposed to petroleum products. He admitted, however, that the major challenge facing use of natural gas for motor vehicles is shortage of filling stations.
 
There is currently one station at Ubungo selling gas. However, he said that plans are underway to set up 25 filling stations in Dar es Salaam. According to the TPDC official, the cost for converting petrol-run vehicles is about 2 million/- per vehicle.
 
However, he was quick to add that the cost can be reimbursed within five months due to low operating costs of using the energy. The use of alternative fuels, particularly natural gas, has been deliberated for quite some time, given adequate reserves of the natural resource in the country.

Source : allafrica.com
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