Auto LPG as a Motor Vehicle Fuel

Now that the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) has made up its mind as it relates to using LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) as was recently announced by Minister of Energy, Mining and Telecommunications Philip Paulwell on Thursday January 9th 2012 at the American Chamber of Commerce Private Sector Energy Forum, the question begs: how and when do Jamaicans benefit?

After all, it is nice that in the use of LNG with all its advantages and benefits will save Jamaica US$300 million annually on our Oil Bill, both for Electricity Generation and Motor Vehicle Fuel Usage. Even nicer is the potential reduction in the electricity bill of the Residential and Commercial consumer by about 55% to 62% over the next three (3) years.

Déjà vu, as the same thing was said in 2010 by then JLP Energy Minister Paul Robertson when JPS Co was indeed considering LNG, the only difference being that the estimated savings to Residential and Commercial consumers was calculated to be between 25% to 30%!

The accuracy of these benefits to consumers in terms of electricity costs are estimates, so the difference in estimated savings remains to be seen when Jamaica’s First LNG Power Plant is built in St. Catherine.

But how can LNG be used in Motor Vehicles? And is it cheaper and more cost effective than Gasoline or Diesel?

First a few definitions, for those who came late:

  • LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) is a transportation format for Natural Gas, a by-product of Oil Mining
  • CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) is the on-land storage and pipeline transportation form
  • LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) is the Commercial and Residential usage form. It is also suitable for motor vehicle usage

Thus for LNG to be used in Motor Vehicles, it has to be in the form of LPG, effectively the same form as used in Cooking Gas for Domestic purposes. When in the LPG form, it can be easily stored and transported in the form of an additional cylinder in the back of your Motor Vehicles

As to being more efficient than Gasoline or Diesel, here are a few facts:

  • The mere fact that LPG is a gas means it burns more cleanly than Gasoline. This as Gasoline and Diesel in Jamaica has a high sulphur content in the 5000 ppm (parts per million) range, exceeding international standards of 5 to 15 ppm, a situation which is very damaging to your vehicle’s engine
  • Auto LPG, the portable form of LNG, has a higher Energy Density of 53 MJ/kg. Diesel is 46.2 MJ/kg and Gasoline is 46.4 MJ/kg respectively
  • It can be used as fuel for Public Transport, which means it can replace Diesel. A potential  saving to the GOJ of billions of dollars, practical examples of which being the Government of China use of LNG to fuel buses in its Public Transport system

But how does the price compare?

CHALLENGER Auto LPG, a subsidiary of Challenger Transport Company, offers Auto LPG since March 2010AD and estimates the prices as being around $51 to $58, half that of Gasoline or Diesel.

Challenger Transport CEO Nigel Pagon lays the number out straight, quote: “Filling an average 45-litre tank would therefore amount to a minimum of $4000, which could last some drivers maximum two-and-a-half weeks, depending on the voyage distance and driving frequency. Drivers can travel the same distance with the same performance level on Auto LPG, which would drastically reduce their gas bill”

Please note that these figures are based on an estimated price of $89 per litre for 89 octane and $93 per litre for 90 octane – back in 2010AD! So imagine the cost saving now!!!!

CHALLENGER Auto LPG is currently the ONLY Company in Jamaica that installs Auto LPG Kits that for Motor Vehicles in Jamaica to run on LPG, a trend already prevalent in such countries as Australia, India, Europe, Canada, and in South America.

CHALLENGER Auto LPG has ISO9001 Technicians trained by Zavoli Sri of Italy, the suppliers of Auto LPG kits that can be installed in virtually any Motor Vehicles. Prices for these kits range are as follows:

  • Four-cylinder vehicle costs US$1000
  • Six-cylinder vehicles costs US$1200
  • Eight-cylinder vehicles costs US$1500

For those doubting Thomas’s worried about reduced vehicle performance, some more comforting words from Challenger Transport CEO Nigel Pagon, quote: “This kit upgrades the vehicle’s management system to a dual one, allowing for functions such as being able to effortlessly switch between regular petrol and Auto LPG by the touch of a button installed on your dashboard”

Thus the Auto LPG Kit is as simple to operate as pressing a button, with a software upgrade to your vehicles’ engine management system ensuring optimum performance after the Auto LPG Kit’s installation. Again from Challenger Transport CEO Nigel Pagon quote: “This is due to a second computer being installed in the vehicle which downloads the data from the vehicle’s existing computer, so as not to compromise your performance, thus allowing the vehicle to operate at the same performance level as before”.

Currently CHALLENGER Auto LPG targets mainly fleets, but with the coming of LNG to Jamaica being officially endorsed by the GOJ, don’t be surprised if more people finally decide to cough up the money to convert to Auto LPG and save themselves more money on Motor Vehicle Fuel.

For details call CHALLENGER Auto LPG  at 926-6414 or check out their FaceBook Page

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.

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