June 11, 2009
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Home / Issue Archive / 2009 / March #3 / Find Out What Our Ecologically Correct Road Warrior Did Last Night in Rostov

№ 3 (March 2009)

Find Out What Our Ecologically Correct Road Warrior Did Last Night in Rostov

This week, Oil&Gas Eurasia’s  Senior Editor Alexsey Chesnokov is traveling with a convoy of trucks buses and cars from Moscow to Sochi. The road rally is organized by Gazprom, VNIIGAZ, the Russian National Gas Motor Association and Gazprom Transgas Kuban to demonstrate the effectiveness of ecologically clean, gas-powered transport.

By Alexei Chesnokov

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On Monday, OGE’s man on the bus, Alexei, joined the rally in Rostov- on –Don. (Gazprom kindly spared journalists the bus ride from Moscow.) Here’s his report.

While journalists took the easy way out, a hour, forty-five minute flight from Moscow to Rostov-on-Don, those who road buses and trucks on the 974 kilometer trek – the first leg of the rally – were in just as good a humor. Riding the road was a “piece of cake” … or to be more honest about it, (since everyone was speaking Russian), the phrase was more like “do yekali v dva sсhota”. Powered by ecologically friendly natural gas, the convoy of cars, buses and even KAMAZ heavy trucks, according to the participants that traveled from VNIIGAZ in Moscow, the way to Rostov was easy enough.  The average speed of the convoy, which includes not only but also buses and even KAMAZ heavy trucks was, was a smooth 60-65 km/hour. A very good result! (Even though this writer won’t be able to offer his own testimony to the fact until Tuesday when he’ll have traveled – in a bus this time – 272 kilometers to the next stop, Krasnodar).

Sunday night, journalists had their first briefing at a press conference in Rostov-On-Don. Speakers included Evgeny Pronin, Deputy Head of Gazprom’s Department on Storage and Use of Natural Gas, and D. Yakov Mkrtychan, a professor at VNIIGAZ. Pronin told journalists that its cheaper to power transport vehicles with natural gas, than with gasoline. For public works departments, this can save state budget funds. Also, he said that natural gas fueled engines can easily EURO-3 and EURO-4 ecological parameters. He added, that for domestic Russian gasoline engines, to reach EURO standards would be a long and costly journey (pardon the metaphore, editor.) You can think of natural gas as an “anti-crisis instrument”, Pronin noted.

Professor Mkrtychan, meanwhile, talked about the difficulties of using natural gas in transport.  A big problem is there is not a well developed network of fuel stations that dispense natural gas. Such a network will, however, be developed in the future. However, Mkrtychan noted that now scientists are now working on engine designs that can function on liquefied natural gas as compared to compressed, gas. The idea is to lengthen the number of kilometers needed between fill-ups.

That’s all for now. Got to get some sleep (or slip down to the bar.) But check in again on Tuesday as our road warriors move another 272 kilometers South to Krasnodar! This time, everyone is taking the bus!


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