FILE – Filling up natural gas – Wikimedia Commons/Andreas Geick
CAIRO – 28 January 2019: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi directed encouraging citizens to convert their cars to run with natural gas instead of petrol, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli said on Sunday.
Madbouli affirmed the necessity of harnessing the available resources in the country, referring to converting cars to run on natural gas in view of the great savings this will bring to the state. This is also important in reducing the state's subsidy bill and achieve environmental benefits, Madbouli said, directing increasing natural gas filling stations nationwide.
Dhruv Narayan Kaushik, an Indian B-tech Automobile Engineering graduate, argues that using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in cars is a "double-edged sword."
Kaushik said that CNG has better fuel consumption, as its gaseous nature efficiently mixes with air, and therefore better thermal efficiency can be achieved. He added that the better combustion of natural gas leads to unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust.
However, he said that the better thermal efficiency of natural gas means higher temperature after combustion, causing the formation of Nitrogen Oxises (NOx), which pollutes environment.
Kaushik said that higher temperature can also reduce the life span of the parts in the cylinder block. Unlike Petrol and Diesel, natural gas does not have a lubrication effect inside the combustion chamber aiding in the piston movement, he added.
However, some people argue that modern engines have hardened valve seats so they don't suffer side effects of using CNG.
As Egypt has increased the price of petroleum products three times since it floated its currency in late 2016, many car owners have resorted to converting their cars to run on natural gas. The latest price of natural gas' cubic meter amounts to LE 2.75 ($0.16) vs. LE 5.5 for 80 octane and LE 6.75 for 92 octane.
A source in the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) said that the number of cars that converted to natural gas instead of gasoline rose to about 253,000 cars during the fiscal year 2017-2018.
The source confirmed that the conversion is carried out in 71 centers; some 186 filling stations for the six companies operating in this field spread in various governorates of Egypt.
The Ministry of Petroleum has started working on the conversion project since 1996 through the two companies of Gastec and Car Gas.
Minister of Petroleum Tarek el-Molla said in 2018 that Egypt has achieved self-sufficiency in natural gas production. On Jan. 26, he asserted that Egypt’s production of natural gas will reach about 8 billion cubic feet per day in 2019/2020.
Egypt stopped importing liquefied gas in September after adding 1.6 million cubic feet to its production from its latest gas discoveries, including West Delta’s Taurus and Libra fields, as well as the Atoll and Zohr gas fields.
In December 2018, Egypt’s Public Transport Authority announced operating four new locally manufactured buses fueled by natural gas as part of the country’s efforts to solve traffic problems in Cairo.
Rizk Ali, head of Egypt's General Transport Authority, said that the experimental operation of the four buses comes as part of preparations to operate about 130 buses in the capital.
He added that tickets of the natural gas-fueled bus will cost LE 4 ($0.22) each, adding that the rest of the buses will be operated following the success of the experimental phase.