EghtesadOnline: The first privately-run compressed natural gas cylinder manufacturing plant opened in Alborz Industrial Town in Qazvin Province on Saturday, the provincial governor general said.
"Annual production capacity of the factory that was built with the help of a private firm [Tose Andishan Atlas Company] is 250,000 tanks, which will accelerate the ongoing plan for converting gasoline-powered vehicles to CNG hybrids across the country," Hedayatollah Jamalipour was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Cylinder sizes range from 10 liters and 130 liters, he said, and added that unlike liquid fuel, which maintains the same volume across a broad range of temperatures, CNG expands and contract significantly depending on weather conditions.
The amount of CNG that can be stored in a vehicle's tank varies due to multiple factors, two of which are ambient temperature and tank type.
There are four types of CNG tanks (type 1–4) and the new factory produces types 1 and 2, which can be used in automobiles, light trucks, medium and heavy lorries and buses.
Compatibility of cylinders is based on the design and production method, including the tank's liner material. The materials regulate the temperature inside the tank and therefore affect how much CNG it can contain based on the defined limits.
For example, carbon fiber tanks retain more heat compared to steel tanks and may reduce CNG capacity due to the fuel molecules expanding under warmer conditions. The factory can also produce special oxygen cylinders for medical and industrial use.
“In addition to the seamless aluminum liner, exceptional heat tolerance is another feature of the factory’s products.”
The plant is expected to give impetus to the nationwide program to convert 1.4 million gasoline-powered public transport vehicles and private cars to CNG hybrids, he added.
In related news, ILNA quoted Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, head of the CNG department of the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company, as saying that close to 200 conversion centers in 25 provinces are equipped with domestically-made kits and tanks.
Of the 300,000 vehicles registered with gcr.niopdc.ir for conversion 52,000 are public vehicles and the rest are either private cars that have to pay for conversion or are old vehicles ineligible for fuel change, he said. The CNG scheme is free for taxis, pickups and commercial vehicles.
“Of the total 52,000 public vehicles, 40,000 cars have been retrofitted and the rest are either in the conversion process or are on the waiting list as the number of authorized conversion centers are limited and demand is high.”
In May 2020, gcr.niopdc.ir was introduced for vehicle registration and converting engines to CNG hybrids. When the conversion plan ends it will cut gasoline use by 15 million liters a day. Total gasoline consumption in Iran now is close to 75 million liters a day.
In addition to curbing gasoline and diesel use, the plan was set in motion to reduce CO2 emissions from heavy polluters. Comprised mostly of methane gas, CNG produces fewer undesirable gases compared to gasoline and diesel.
Regarding financial issues, the oil official said NIOPDC and Bank Mellat signed an agreement in December 2019 to pool resources for the retrofitting scheme.
As per the deal, the equivalent of $510 million required to convert 1.4 million vehicles to CNG hybrids has been put up by the lender.
NIOPDC has said that of the 19 million vehicles in Iran five million have hybrid CNG engines.
“CNG consumption has reached 23 million cubic meters a day and is estimated to increase by 15 mcm/d as more cars are equipped with CNG tanks.” Globally, Iran with 2,400 CNG stations is the 5th biggest CNG consumer.