Compressed natural gas (CNG) is clearly expanding by any metric. At a recently concluded CNG Symposium and Open House organised by the NGC CNG, Curtis Mohammed, President of CNG NGC, provided an update on the CNG initiative. During the update, Mohammed provided some key statistics showing the uptake for CNG from 2014 to present. 

According to Mohammed, year on year, the number of vehicle additions have been increasing from 2016 and has had a significant jump in actual sales from 2017 to 2018. This year, sales more than doubled to 2,444 either new or converted vehicles using CNG. 

The graphs below were provided by the NGC CNG and indicate that there are now more than 13,000 CNG vehicles being operated. According to the data, there was a significant uptake in CNG technology from 2017 to 2018 when there was an increase from 961 to 2,444 vehicles, a more than 150 per cent increase. In 2018-2019, the vehicle additions are projected to continue to grow by approximately 200 per cent. 

Mohammed also indicated that the mandate for NGC CNG is 22 CNG service stations and 17,500 vehicles. In 2019, it is projected that there will be 13,834 CNG vehicle additions in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Furthermore, he said that 20 CNG service stations will be opened by the end of 2019. 

In terms of consumption of CNG, it was presented that the volume being consumed is also increasing. Consumption data shows that between 2017 and 2018, there was a significant rise in consumption which is commensurate with the number of CNG additions on the road. Mohammed also projects a significant increase in consumption in 2019. 

The NGC CNG anticipates that at the end of 2019, 15,400,00 liters of gasoline equivalent will be sold. This trend equates to an 136 per cent increase over last 15 months. 

The CNG initiative is supported by the government, which has offered fiscal incentives to promote the use of CNG. The state currently offers no motor vehicle tax and no VAT on original equipment manufacturer (OEM) cars (with installed CNG kits) and also on used CNG vehicles which are up to four years old. 

Under the curremt fiscal incentives, individuals are able to claim a tax rebate of up to $2,500 for a CNG conversion and commercial users that have fleet conversions can claim up to 130 per cent wear and tear allowed on equipment and kits used. 

Mohammed maintains that there is sufficient CNG on the market to meet their targets. He also indicated that safety is a key priority. 

He said that the company entered into a contract with NGVi of the USA to conduct a third-party safety audit, and company representatives will arrive soon to begin the project. 

Safety is also bolstered by the Trinidad & Tobago Bureau of Standards’ (TTBS) development of a national standard for CNG fuel systems. 

Initiatives like CNG fuel for passenger transport is key to reducing the carbon footprint of the transport sector in Trinidad and Tobago. The national targets for reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are heavily pegged on the transport system. It is suggested that 30 per cent of emissions from the transport sector can be avoided by conversions to CNG and new car sales using CNG.