Tanzanian government vehicles to run on compressed gas

Jan 24, 2010 01:00 AM

by Joseph Mwamunyange

Tanzania will shift to locally produced natural gas to run state-owned vehicles instead of petrol and diesel. The move, which is likely to face stiff opposition from oil importers will save the government more than $ 15.3 mm every year used to fuel over 8,000 vehicles.
The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation has prepared a master plan for the effective implementation of the project. The master plan will make it mandatory for government motor vehicles to be configured so they can use natural gas.

Yona Killaghane, managing director of TPDC, told that 30,000 households in Dar es Salaam will also benefit from the natural gas project. Mr Killaghane said using natural gas over other traditional fuels like charcoal, petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and heavy fuel oil will also save the government more than $ 36.62 mm in oil products imports, $ 30 mm on the substitution of charcoal for compressed natural gas for domestic use and $ 2.5 mm used in hotels every year.
Many manufacturers in Dar es Salaam as well, have switched to using natural gas, with the number estimated at about 30.

Immense benefits
According to TPDC, the country saved $ 3.7 bn between July 2004 and October last year through the use of natural gas. The principal research officer at TPDC, Joyce Kisamo, said the benefits of using natural gas are immense.
"Even the environment and forests are targeted in the master plan, as less carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide will be released into the atmosphere."

Ms Kisamo said a study undertaken by a consultant showed that there was great potential for the use of locally produced gas for domestic purposes. She said the master plan includes the distribution of gas in Dar es Salaam while the routes for the pipeline and filling stations with attached plants to compress gas had been identified.
One station is located next to the Ubungo Intercity Bus Terminal which is about 8 km out of town, while another is being constructed in Mikocheni area (some 13 households of TPDC staff are being connected to the gas pipeline in a pilot project).

The conversion of vehicles to use natural gas is being carried out at two centres by private companies working with government institutions -- one at the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology in collaboration with Echo Motors Tanzania, and the other at the University of Dar es Salaam's Bureau for Industrial Co-operation, which is working with Triangle Tanzania.
During the interview with Ms Kisamo, technicians from Bico were configuring a Toyota Harrier to use compressed natural gas -- the fourth car to have the new system. This converted the previous three vehicles with the conversion kits going for Tsh 2 mm ($ 1,492), a price that is expected to go down once more suppliers come on board.

Hassan M. Rajabu from the University of Dar es Salaam College of Engineering and Technology, who is co-ordinating the project, said five technicians have been engaged in the conversion programme under an Italian expert, Monrado Luca.
"The kits are also from Italy but we hope to find other sources soon. The Italian Emer Group has been involved in the supply of and training in conversion kits in a number of countries including Iran, China, the Netherlands, Germany and India," said Dr Rajabu.

TPDC, in partnership with Pan African Energy Tanzania, is championing the exercise, which will cost Tsh 3.5 bn ($ 2.6 mm).

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