With the discovery of another large natural gas field this week, Israel has a surfeit of energy – and on Wednesday, the National Infrastructures Ministry issued a tender for a new way to use the gas. The Ministry said in a statement that it would be distributing one million shekels apiece to qualified organizations for the establishment of gas stations that will sell compressed natural gas (CNG).
CNG consists of methane (the main ingredient in natural gas) stored at high pressure, compressed to less than 1% of its standard volume. Sold and stored in pressurized containers, CNG can be used in traditional gasoline/internal combustion engines that are retrofitted with a special component that enables engines to use it. CNG is in use in many countries in the world, including in Israel, mostly in public transportation or other government-affiliated vehicle fleets, such as trash collection trucks.
Increasingly, CNG is being used to power passenger vehicles – and that is what the Ministry has in mind. A separate program exists to encourage fleet owners to convert their vehicles to CNG use, and with the new program, the Ministry hopes to encourage more entrepreneurs to open stations to fuel those vehicles. The more stations, the more likely vehicle owners will be to switch over, the Ministry believes.
CNG is considered a green fuel, emitting far less pollution than traditional gasoline – and has about 40% less carbon dioxide (CO-2) emissions than benzine or diesel fuel. Israel is committed to reducing its carbon footprint significantly by the end of the decade, and the new program will help the country achieve its goals, the Ministry said.
Commenting on the project, Infrastructures Minister Yuval Steinetz said that the Ministry “will continue to advance the progress of Israel as a country with a cleaner and healthier environment, by removing the roadblocks that stand in the way of green entrepreneurs.”