My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why the JUTC is adopting LNG and CNG as PCJ need to emphasize Solar, Wind and Biofuel


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Why the JUTC is adopting LNG and CNG as PCJ need to emphasize Solar, Wind and Biofuel

Looks like the JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) is going to be going the LNG way.

The Government of Jamaica has announced plans to fuel their buses using CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), the compressed counterpart to LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) as reported in the article “Pilot Approved For JUTC To Use LNG”, published Wednesday December 20, 2017, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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The pilot, to be rolled out in Q1 of 2018, will see five (5) buses being retrofitted to use CNG. Supposedly, they'll be marked to indicate to passenger that they are using the fuel, should the public be wary of a bus that's basically running on a gaseous combustible fuel.

The aim is energy efficiency.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement during the launch of Red Stripe’s new Line 8 production line and LNG plant at their Spanish Town Road facility on Tuesday December 19, 2017.

They are planning to basically reduce taxes on LNG to increase its usages; thus if you are a motorists, when the GOJ decided to roll our LNG to the public, it'll be tax-free.

According to Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, during his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on April 12, 2017, the use of LNG in buses has a projected fuel savings of 25% as noted in the article “JUTC to Manage LNG Pilot”, published April 13, 2017 by Latonya Linton, The Jamaica Information Service

So what exactly is CNG?

JUTC and CNG - A New Spin on an old Idea

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is a natural gas .e. methane, ethane, butane and propane fuel that has been compressed to less than 1% of its volume at s.t.p. (standard temperature and pressure) which is 0°C  Celcius at 1 Atm, 101.3kPa or 760 mmHg of pressure.

It's naturally odourless, colourless and is inexpensive to produce and store, as it's a lot like LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) or butane that is used in cooking Gas cylinders; liquid with some evaporated gas fuel at the top.

This readiness to be liquid and convert to a gas makes ideal for numerous large vehicles such as:

1.      Refuse trucks
2.      Buses
3.      Shuttles Buses
4.      Taxis
5.      Heavy-duty trucks

The liquid readily converts to gas at r.t.p (room temperature and pressure) which is 20°C at 1 Atm, 101.3kPa or 760 mmHg of pressure. This means special storage cylinders for the fuel is required. The fact that it gasifies so easily means it burns more cleanly and evenly in a typical vehicle combustion chamber.

It also does not need to be filtered, making it excellent for cars as well as noted in my blog article entitled “LPG and the Challenger Transport Co Ltd - A Cheaper Fuel” 

Good to note here that the LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) used in cooking Gas cylinders is a form of CNG, just that it is mainly composed of butane; This means that CNG packs more energy per cubic meter. So it's really an upgrade on an old idea.

So is it really more environmentally friendly?

CNG and Renewables in Jamaica - More emphasis need to be placed on Solar, Wind and Biofuel

Alas, no!!

We have to import LNG and gasify it to CNG at the pump or keep it below ground to keep it in liquid state, making it non-renewable. LNG is really gas that should have been burned off at the oilwell, but has been stored for resale at cheaper rates, being ax most oilwells are full of LNG dissolved in oil.

Biodiesel, albeit impractical to grow fuel, it's actually renewable as noted in my blog article entitled “PCJ, UTECH develop Castor Oil-based Biodiesel to reduce Oil imports by 97,000 barrels”; Biodiesel can even be made from cooking oil and other organic sources.

Already there is a pilot project for making Biodiesel from waste cooking oil from restaurants from across the islands as explained in my blog article entitled “How UWI and YCWJ can Waste Cooking Oil for National Bio-Diesel Production”. 

This is actually more economically sustainable, as the Biofuel required to run the buses can also be made from organic material. Also, the infrastructure for LNG for cooling and compressing, shipping and regasifying  can be extensive and expensive, and may cost the government in the long run.

The only way this could be cheaper is if the GOJ has excess energy that they may be planning to use for compressing and regasifying LNG to CNG, such as from Wind Turbines as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “How PCJ Offshore Windfarm may be used to export Hydrogen and Uranium”.

I suspect the GOJ and the PCJ is going this route of continuing to import a fossil fuel as they are getting funding from the USA and other agencies.  LNG Can reduce the cost of both motor vehicle fuel as well as electricity generation once fully adopted by Jamaica along with true Renewable Energy sources such as Solar and Wind as pointed out in my blog article entitled “IEA says Solar PV is fastest growing Energy source while Jamaica is adopting LNG”.

Hopefully, the PCJ will promote Renewable Energy sources such as Solar, Wind and Biofuel from organic material and not lead Jamaica back to an over dependence on an imported fossil fuel. 

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