Home-grown automaker Tata Motors recently showcased the country's first Bio CNG (compressed natural gas) a.k.a. bio-Methane bus in India. The company has designed and developed bio-Methane engines for LCV, ICV, and MCV buses and the powertrain options include - 5.7 SGI and 3.8 SGI. The new bio-methane engines were introduced at the Bio-energy programme, called 'Urja Utsav,' and the Tata LPO 1613 bus, which features the top-spec 5.7 SGI NA BS-IV IOBD-II engine that makes 123 bhp and develops 405 Nm of peak torque, was also showcased at the event.
Tata Motors believes that moving towards bio-Methane will not only contribute majorly towards decreasing emissions for a cleaner environment but also help promote the Government of India's Smart City initiative. Interestingly, the bio-methane powered Tata LPO 1613 showcased at the event is already in operation by PMPML (Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited) in Pune city.
Now, the difference between a regular CNG-powered engine and a bio CNG-powered is not very vast. While in CNG, the Methane gas co-exists with other heavier hydrocarbons (for which the end application Stoichiometry - air fuel ratio is not adjusted), Bio CNG has only Methane in it and thus it is also called as bio-Methane. Furthermore, this makes Bio CNG more application friendly and efficient than regular CNG.
Talking about the new Bio-methane engines and their development, Rajendra Petkar, Head- Power System, Engineering, Tata Motors, said, "The showcase of the Bio-Methane bus is a step towards developing environment-friendly vehicles. Bio-Methane is produced out of bio-degradable materials like kitchen waste. This gas, which gets produced out of natural degradation process, escapes into the atmosphere unused. However, if this is trapped and used in engines, it reduces the net impact on the environment and at the same time produces useful power."
For over two decades now, Tata Motors has been working with CNG technology for its vehicles has introduced several technologies in CNG engines related to vehicle performance and safety including sequential gas injection technology, skip fire, plug type coils, long life spark plugs and longer oil drain intervals. Talking about the company's future plans, Girish Wagh, Head, Commercial Vehicles Business, Tata Motors, said, "Tata Motors has been at the fore front in pioneering latest technologies and providing smart city solutions in the commercial vehicle industry. We are delighted to present yet another product with innovation in alternate fuel technologies, to cater to the need for a greener country. The use of Bio-CNG will contribute in a positive manner to the Smart Cities proposition of keeping them clean and is a good option for wet garbage management."