News Brief

World’s First Floating CNG Station To Power 1,700 Boats In Varanasi

Amit Mishra

Jul 12, 2022, 04:57 PM | Updated 04:57 PM IST


The floating CNG filling station.
The floating CNG filling station.
  • The CNG filling station is now fully operational, serving around 500 boats that have been converted from diesel to CNG engines.
  • It is expected to accommodate 1,700 CNG-fuelled boats by the end of 2022.
  • In a far-reaching move to make the holy river Ganga pollution free, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 10 July dedicated to the nation 500 boats converted to run on environment-friendly compressed natural gas (CNG) from petrol and diesel.

    These boats are being supplied CNG from India’s first floating CNG station built by GAIL (India) Limited at Namo Ghat in Varanasi.

    The conversion of the boats running on petrol/diesel to run on CNG was carried out under GAIL’s corporate social responsibility initiative in association with Varanasi Nagar Nigam (VNN). VNN appointed Varanasi Smart City as coordinator of the project while Mecon Limited is providing engineering and consultancy services for conversion of the boats to run on CNG.

    Convenient, New Mode Of Transport Along The Ganga River

    The world’s first modular CNG floating filling station doubles as a tourist attraction, from where passengers can take the river route in eco-friendly boats powered by CNG to the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, a recent temple access initiative.

    The CNG filling station is now fully operational, serving around 500 boats that have been converted from diesel to CNG engines. It is expected to accommodate 1,700 CNG-fuelled boats by the end of 2022.

    Sporting a weather-proof design, the floating CNG station is designed for round-the-clock work throughout the year. The station ensures a consistent and safe CNG pipeline connection to all the dispensers, with controlled risk factors, even during peak flood season.

    The floating base can support around 600 tonnes and is connected to the shore with a floating pipe rack. The CNG station is a two-tier deck system: an upper deck with a CNG compression facility, and a lower deck with a five-point dispensing facility for the boats.

    CNG: Cleaner And Quieter Than Diesel

    Many of the boats present across the various ghats of river Ganga are used by tourists when they visit the holy city of Varanasi. However, leakage and exhaust from conventional fuels is a major concern which affects the water quality and marine life of the river Ganga. Conversion to CNG will not only reduce pollution but the resultant savings on fuel will lead to better economic conditions for boatmen.

    Compared to diesel-fuelled boat engines, CNG engines produce less pollution and do not produce harmful gases like sulphur dioxide. CNG engines are also much quieter, thereby minimising the adverse effects the loud noise of diesel engines has on aquatic life and the surrounding environment.

    While 500 boats have been converted to CNG so far, work is going on at a fast pace to convert the other boats to clean fuel too. Additional floating filling stations are slated for installation at other ghats in Varanasi.


    Amit Mishra is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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