DUBAI: A unique model of pipeless natural gas fuel stations will be introduced in Dubai as part of its plans to implement a cost-effective and environment-friendly natural gas transportation solutions.Government vehicles will first switch to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), followed by private cars in the emirate to reduce carbon emission and cut fuel costs, officials revealed on Tuesday after the Dubai Municipality (DM) unveiled its pilot project of converting five of its vehicles to use natural gas.Emirates Gas (EMGAS), a member of the ENOC Group wholly owned by the Government of Dubai, has finalised a plan to build “mother, daughter and on-line stations” to supply CNG for the entire emirate, a senior official told Khaleej Times after the event.“Our plan is already finalised. We are now in consultations with various government departments in Dubai to know the volume of gas required to be supplied. Once they decide how many of their vehicle fleets can be converted, we will go ahead with the procedures for infrastructure development,” said Hesham Ali Mustafa, General Manager of EMGAS.“Dubai will have a unique model of supplying the natural gas. We have decided to have mother and daughter stations where in daughter stations will be supplied gas from the main mother station through a pipeless channel. We are doing this to minimise the interruptions on roads by laying pipes for gas supply. Eventually, we will also have a few on-line stations where we will have to use minimum length of pipes,” he said. The plan is to have 12 daughter stations which will basically be special filling depots for government departments. Mustafa said these stations will be supplied gas from the mother depot of EMGAS through trailers which will have a bank of cylinders that can be locked on to dispensers in daughter stations.“I think we can expect one or two such depots within this year depending on the number of vehicles going for conversion,” he said.DM is the first government department in Dubai to use CNG for cars.The Roads and Transport Authority has introduced a fleet of CNG-powered abras and hybrid taxis. The government’s plan is to convert at least 25 per cent of the public transport vehicles to use natural gas. Once the government departments lead the way and spread awareness, the project will target private vehicles. “The daughter depots can also act as filling stations for private vehicles. It takes hardly Dh6,000 to Dh7,000 for converting a normal vehicle to use CNG.
But, the public can have great economic benefits out of it as CNG is more than 30 per cent cheaper than petrol. If somebody converts his car, he can get back the money he spent for it in less than a year,” said Mustafa.He said Dubai’s government departments were striving to adopt environment friendly options for the transport sector on the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, to save the environment and boost tourism and economy.Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, said the second phase of the DM project will see a total of 438 commercial and medium-sized vehicles of the municipality switching to natural gas.“The project contributes to the economic benefit as it will achieve an estimated fuel saving of about Dh2.3 million a year in the event of converting 400 vehicles. It will also achieve significant environmental benefit by reducing the rate of carbon emissions by 70 per cent in each vehicle when using natural gas,” Lootah said.Humaid Al Marri, Director of Transportation at DM, said the Transportation Department will work with its strategic partners to get the approvals required to become one of the officially approved bodies to convert vehicles to natural gas. Last month, Abu Dhabi announced plans to convert over 500 government vehicles and taxis to natural gas by the end of 2012 – Khaleejnews