KOCHI: Let’s face it. The rise in petrol prices we have been witnessing over the years is here to stay. In just 10 days in May, petrol prices jumped from Rs 78.9 per litre (May 18) to Rs 81.02 per litre (May 28)!
In this scenario, one can safely assume there will come a day when the common man might be forced to ditch his/her dream of owning a vehicle. While compressed natural gas (CNG) is a viable option, it is available only for four-wheelers.
Well, that has changed, thanks to the efforts of five students of Adi Shankara Institute of Engineering and Technology, Kalady.“While CNG is a good option, not everyone can buy a car. Moreover, people whose job profile requires them to travel quickly, a two-wheeler is a life and a job saver.
However, the increasing fuel prices are posing a huge problem to them as they are eating up over a quarter of their earnings,” said Kevin Kuriyan, a final-year mechanical engineering student of the institute.
So Kevin, along with his classmates Arun Jose, Abhilash P M, Mushin Ahmed and Mohammed Aslam, decided to design and build a two-wheeler that runs on both petrol and CNG. “We went with a hybrid bike as the number of CNG outlets in the state is very less. So, even if the CNG burns out, the rider will be able to switch over to petrol,” said Kevin.
Not only is CNG a green fuel but is also viable financially. “CNG is basically methane. It is a clean fuel and doesn’t release any harmful by-products like hydrocarbons. Only CO2 and water are released. CNG is also good for the engine. If you compare the engines which run on petrol with those running on CNG, you will find the former gets damaged more,” Kevin said.
“The engine’s life is also more. If a petrol-based engine is good for, say, 5,000 km, the CNG engine is good for almost double the distance. Hence, it is more beneficial, as the owners won’t have to shell out large sums of money for maintenance,” Kevin said.The bike the students have designed has an analogue system and cost them Rs 45,000. “We pooled in the money required for the bike.
Since installing a digital system requires a lot more money, we used traditional instruments. If we get more funds, we will be able to fit the vehicle with high-end instruments,” he said.
The students, who presented their bike at an exhibition and were adjudged the first runners-up, said, the bike could provide mileage of 55 km to 60 km per kg of CNG. “In comparison, a petrol bike guzzles up to one litre of the fuel to cover 60 km. One can do the math and determine which is more viable,” said Kevin. The bike is not the final stop in the students’ quest for clean fuel option. “We will be presenting a paper on obtaining purified CNG from biogas,” said Kevin.