Energy transition for vehicles a bumpy but important road

By Energy Connects

Feb 08, 2024

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Taking the time to make a proper shift to green energy for commercial vehicles is crucial, and never more so than for large and populous countries like India. These insights emerged from a session titled Enabling Energy Transition in the Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicle Segment.

Frederik Wisselink, Energy Special Envoy of Netherland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, said overall energy transition is a “bumpy ride” and it needs international cooperation to truly work.“We have to share our best practices and our worst practices,” he said. The Netherlands and Europe don’t have the capacity to produce all their needs, and Wisselink said he believes that India can become an exporter in this space.

Mansi Tripathi, the Country Chair of Shell India, said China had about 600,000 LNG-based vehicles, and about 5,000 refueling stations, far beyond what India has. Tripathi said Shell could play a bigger role as an LNG provider as it had experience in multiple geographies.

Kamal Kishore Chatiwal is Managing Director of Indraprastha Gas Limited, the largest CNG company in India. The firm is setting up LNG terminals along the Golden Quadrilateral, the national highway network connecting several major industrial, agricultural and cultural centers of India, including on the Bombay-Delhi route. When it comes to India, he said, “LNG needs parity with CNG".

LNG works well in coastal areas and cities near the ports, but taking it for longer distances poses its own challenges. There are also proposals to try to liquify CNG into LNG, said Chatiwal. There are significant costs involved in transporting these fuels, which can be offset by tax breaks for electric and green-powered vehicles.

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Additional Secretary Praveen Mal Khanooja said while the government issued a draft LNG policy in 2021, three years later, “LNG’s time has come”. An overall “sense of urgency” is pushing the shift to green fuels in energy for transportation, and governments can no longer wait for further Indicators of Global Climate Change to act, said the Netherlands ambassador to India, Marisa Gerards. “Our electorates are getting very concerned,” she said.

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