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Mechanical Engineers and Experts of State Duma Discuss Measures of State Support to Gas Motor Fuel Market

2 July 2014

On September 17, 2013, in Moscow, the participants of a joint meeting of the Tractor, Agricultural, Timber, Public Utility and Road Construction Machine Building Committee of the Russian Union of Machine Builders (hereinafter the relevant Committee of the Union) and the Expert Council for Development of Defense Plants at the State Duma Industry Committee (hereinafter the Expert Council) discussed modern measures of state support to the gas motor fuel market and adjustment of the regulatory and legal norms.

The meeting was attended by State Duma deputies, the heads of executive bodies and ministries, the leading engineering companies, institutes and universities, non-governmental organizations, and industry experts.

Opening the meeting, its co-chairmen – Vladimir GUTENEV, Chairman of the Expert Council, State Duma Deputy, and Mikhail BOLOTIN, Chairman of the relevant Committee of the Russian Union of Machine Builders, President of Concern Tractor Plants, noted that the topic for discussion had significant potential for development and was of interest to the widest circles of authorities, business and civil society, especially in economic and environmental aspects.

Alfiya KOGOGINA, State Duma Deputy, a member of the Committee on Industry, presented the audience the main lines of development of the global NGV market, reported measures of foreign authorities for stimulating their manufacturers, disclosed potential positive economic and environmental aspects of operation of vehicles running on compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Russian Federation. And, according to the speaker, the total multiplicative effect can make up to 1 trillion rubles a year on a national scale.

In the deputy’s opinion, the legislature should be more actively involved in this work and should also control law enforcement procedures. “We should review and analyze the current situation in this area every six months,” Alfiya Kogogina concluded.

The representative of the supreme legislative body was supported by Vasily TOLSTOPYATOV, Deputy General Director of OOO Gazprom Gazomotornoye Toplivo. He gave a detailed description of regulatory and legal NGV norms currently in effect in the Russian Federation, recounted measures taken by Gazprom for their development and improvement. Vasily Tolstopyatov said that it was important not only to adopt new regulatory documents, but also to improve the existing rules and regulations many of which were outdated and not compliant with modern requirements of the fast growing industry.

Gennady SAVELIEV, the head of the laboratory of engines and alternative fuels at GNU VIM Russian Academy of Agriculture Sciences, gave calculations of efficiency of the use of motor fuel by way of example of SEC Kazminskoe of Stavropol Krai.

The speakers’ arguments demonstrated significant savings in fuel costs for equipment converted to gas motor fuel. So, economy for the said sector made up about 120 million rubles with a payback period of capital investment in the conversion ranging from 3.1 to 7.1 years, depending on a method of filling.

Aleksandr SCHETNIKOV, Head of the Energy Coordination Office of the Department of Science and Technology Policy and Education of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, informed the audience about measures of supporting agricultural producers purchasing vehicles running on natural gas in 2013.

According to the expert, the conversion of vehicles to gas motor fuel is complicated mainly due to the lack of civil engineering infrastructure of stationary and mobile gas stations in proximity to rural areas; worn-out vehicles, unresolved legal issues regarding the conversion.

In this regard, the Russian Ministry of Agriculture considers it reasonable not to reconstruct, but to update the fleet of agricultural machinery and promote sales of new vehicles fueled by natural gas. This is the aim to be achieved with the help of the Russian Government’s Resolution No. 1432 of 27 December 2012, Resolution No. 1460 of 28 December 2012 developed with the participation of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Russian Government’s Draft Resolution “On approval of rules of distribution and assignment of subsidies from the federal budget to regional budgets of the Russian Federation to ensure technical and technological modernization of agricultural production” worked out by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Vladimir YATSENKO, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Special Production and Mobilization Training of the Committee for Industrial Policy and Science of the Administration of Vladimir Oblast, informed the participants of the meeting about the scope of activities of regional authorities executing orders from the Russian President and Government, their experience and challenges.

As Vladimir Yatsenko noted, the administration of Vladimir Oblast chose three key ways to convert vehicles to gas motor fuel: development and adoption of the state regional program “Development of NGV Market in Vladimir Oblast for 2013-2023”; assembly of buses and trucks running on gas motor fuel in the region; production of equipment to retool internal combustion engines and manufacturing of filling and service equipment.

As part of NGV promotion, a task group was built to work out a gasification program in Vladimir Oblast, an agreement was signed by the regional authorities and Gazprom to expand the use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel, and Vladimir Oblast became a pilot project under Gazprom’s program for conversion of vehicles to gas motor fuel.

Sergey RUSSINKOVSKY, Chief Designer of OOO Plant of Innovative Products, shared an opinion of developers of the machine-building and industrial group Concern Tractor Plants on prospects for the use of gas motor fuel for agricultural, municipal, road construction vehicles with the participants.

According to manufacturers, it is more advantageous to use gas motor fuel for new models of vehicles in different versions: wheeled and caterpillar tractors, various self-propelled agricultural and municipal vehicles, as well as energy and heat production fixed plants. At the same time, according to the chief designer, virtually all products made by Tractor Plants can already now be converted to natural gas: the AGROMASH and CHETRA line includes tractors, self-propelled chassis, multi-purpose municipal and construction vehicles, combines, power plants. Furthermore, Tractor Plants designed gas engines with centralized and distributed gas supply, controlled both mechanically and with the help of a microprocessor.

Natural gas was effectively used as a fuel for advanced vehicles designed by Plant of Innovative Products, which is proved by successful operation of the first Russian tractors AGROMASH 85TK with gas engines at the II Russian Open Ploughing Championship (May 2013, Rostov Oblast) and during a 140-km trip from Vladimir to Ivanovo Oblast and back to the factory without a single refueling (an extremely important factor when the service and filling infrastructure is undeveloped!). So, it is no wonder that customers are interested in innovative vehicles at exhibitions of agricultural machinery in different regions of the country: Vladimir, Volgograd, Ivanovo, Moscow and Ryazan Oblasts.

The next steps towards diversified production and a wider use of natural gas at enterprises of the machine-building and industrial group are to convert multipurpose municipal and construction vehicles and combines to gas fuel. With this purpose, a modern specialized center of competence in equipping agricultural and municipal vehicles with equipment for the use of compressed natural gas (methane) as motor fuel in Vladimir. The Concern will develop pilot models of engines and vehicles with performance and quality features compliant with international safety, ergonomics and comfort standards to subsequently test them and launch their mass production.

Taking into account the great work carried out by the machine-building and industrial group to convert agricultural, municipal and road construction vehicles to natural gas, Natalia PARTASOVA, Deputy Chairman of the relevant Committee of the Union, Vice-President of Concern Tractor Plants, suggested that the top managers of Gazprom and Concern Tractor Plants should sign a memorandum to expand the use of natural gas vehicles, by analogy with agreements signed with AvtoVAZ, GAZ and Kirov Plant.

Rafael BATYRSHIN, CEO of RariTEK, told about experience in operation of KAMAZ vehicles running on natural gas and presented a list of required support measures. To date, KAMAZ is ready to offer customers a wide range of motor transport, agricultural, road construction, municipal, cargo-and-passenger vehicles.

The representative of KAMAZ pointed to the need for a comprehensive approach to solving problems of conversion to gas motor fuel: state support at the federal level, the development of regional programs to promote the use of compressed natural gas (CNG); development of a network of automobile gas filling compressor stations; improvement of the system of regulatory and technical documentation for fuel, automobile gas filling compressor stations and gas vehicles; development of service of NGVs and, in fact, manufactured engineering products.

Summing up the results of the discussion, Vladimir GUTENEV, Chairman of the Expert Group, State Duma Deputy, stressed the importance of the full participation of the Russian Union of Machine Builders, domestic machinery manufacturers, specialized scientific and educational institutions in the gradual development of legislation and environmental regulations. In this connection, he suggested that the Russian Union of Machine Builders and Gazprom should sign a memorandum on cooperation in the use of natural gas as a motor fuel, which will enable the Union to integrate its efforts with existing mechanisms and open up new opportunities of influencing decision-making in terms of improving the current regulatory and legal norms.

The participants’ proposals will be summarized by the working group and transmitted to the executive and legislative authorities for consideration.