The Road Ahead

Clean Energy is working to change the way North America fuels its vehicles.

Are Natural Gas Vehicles the Answer to Beijing’s Nasty Smog Problems?

By Clean Energy Compression

Beijing dealt with sever smog at emergency levels again last week, raising the pollution alert to orange, the second highest level. Authorities took emergency measures to cut industrial emissions; forcing more than 100 factories to shut down or cut emissions, halting all construction work and banning earth hauling and gravel truck traffic. While the heavier smog was present, residents were advised to wear masks, reduce outdoor activities, wash their face and hands immediately after being outside and adopt a lighter diet with vegetables and drinking water.

Growing public demand for cleaner air and heightened pollution alerts in Beijing and other Chinese cities have prompted officials to move to cleaner fuel alternatives. Officials in Beijing have also vowed to ban dirtier vehicles in an effort to reduce smog.

The number of natural gas vehicles on China’s streets has increased rapidly in recent years, driven largely by China’s current five year plan which specifically states the goal of using natural gas to generate 8% of it’s energy needs by 2015. This week, China announced it will punish car manufacturers by restricting their production levels and publicizing them should they not meet fuel consumption guidelines set for 2015 passenger vehicles which are said to be as stringent as the rules being set by the United States and Europe.

China has almost 4,900 natural gas fuelling stations to support their increasing use of natural gas vehicles. As a net importer, China is securing long term sources including the recently publicized 30 year natural gas deal with Russia.

Using natural gas fuel can result in 32 percent less emissions than diesel. Aside from environmental considerations the move to natural gas makes good business sense. With Chinese III-standard diesel selling for over 40% more than LNG the payback period to cover the cost of switching vehicles from diesel to liquefied natural gas can be as short as 12 to 15 months. By 2020, about 3.8 million Chinese operated cars, trucks and buses are expected be powered by liquefied or compressed natural gas.


South China Morning Post –

Beijing and surrounding areas brace for a weekend of hazardous smog

Factories shut and building sites suspended as Beijing fights back against ‘hazardous’ smog

Bloomberg – “Choking Smog Puts Chinese Driver in Natural Gas Fast Lane”

CSIS Center for Strategic and International Studies

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