Type 4 composite cylinders: How two companies aim to change the green mobility landscape

Type 4 composite cylinders are lighter compared to their steel counterparts, resulting in more fuel stored and farther distances travelled on a single fill.

By Shahkar Abidi calendar 16 Feb 2024 Views icon6043 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Type 4 composite cylinders: How two companies aim to change the green mobility landscape

Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Eicher Trucks and Buses, and Piaggio are among the leading OEMs revving their engines for a greener future, looking to increasingly embrace cleaner fuels like CNG, bio-fuels such as bio-CBG, ethanol, and even green hydrogen.  

But the road to a truly sustainable transportation system runs deeper than just fuel, demanding innovation in storage and transportation technology. Enter two Maharashtra-based companies, their next-gen product: Type 4 composite cylinders, poised to be a game changer.  

These cylinders are lighter by a third, as compared to their steel counterparts, resulting in more fuel stored and farther distances travelled on a single fill- a crucial factor in the mass adoption of clean alternatives. They are also built tougher and can withstand higher pressures and temperatures.

Imagine a fleet of CNG buses or green hydrogen trucks, each equipped with these lighter, safer cylinders. Fuel consumption dips, operational costs plummet for fleet operators, and greenhouse gas emissions shrink. This isn't a novel concept; similar advancements are already transforming gas transportation, albeit on a smaller scale. With India looking to increasingly transition into a gas-based economy with large scale usage of CNG, CBG, ethanol, and green hydrogen in coming years, the shift is likely to be transformational. 

Nitin Khara, Confidence Petroleum India Chairman predicts that even "larger cars and vehicles" will embrace Type 4, potentially expanding the reach of gas-based fuels like CNG  beyond small cars, taxis, and three-wheelers, in addition to some buses and trucks. And the best part? While there are many companies that import it currently, Confidence Petroleum will be able to make it in India, based on German technology, bringing down costs and making clean mobility even more accessible. "The cost structure will certainly be lower, and therefore the company will be able to make further inroads," Khara told Autocar Professional.

He also says that Tata Motors, TVS, and Piaggio are keen on the company’s offering of type 4 cylinders.

But the future doesn't stop at CNG. With LPG at 20 bars, CNG at 200–250 bars, and hydrogen pushing the limits at 350–700 bars, the need for diverse, adaptable cylinders is crucial. Confidence Petroleum claims to be on top of its game, having developed a range of models and variants specifically designed to handle the unique pressure demands of each fuel. In the gas industry parlance, the term 'bars' in the context of type 4 cylinders refers to the units used to measure the pressure inside the cylinder.

Confidence Petroleum has already committed to an investment of Rs 350 crore at the Nagpur plant and aims to roll out 1 lakh units initially, which will be scaled up to 3 lakh units in the coming years.

This move positions Confidence Petroleum to tap into India's ambitious push towards natural gas adoption. The government aims to increase the share of natural gas in the energy mix to 15% by 2030, up from the current 6%.

The differentiating factor

 The company stated that their product is made from a liner that is not moulded, which means that it is made from a single piece liner, with no joints. Hence, there are fewer chances of leakage. The high-quality machines ensure that the composite structure of the tank is very solid. There will be less wastage from this plant, with just 0.03% of wastage from this plant, Confidence Petroleum officials added. 

Mumbai's Time Technoplast Ltd. is another prominent company that is into the manufacturing of Type 4 composite cylinders. In its latest annual report, the company management highlighted that they are in discussion with OEMs for the supply of fully wrapped carbon fiber-reinforced Type 4 composite cylinders for onboard vehicle applications. "Besides OEMs who have explicitly expressed their preference for Type 4 cylinders vis-à-vis Type 1 (steel cylinders), the company is also going to target the secondary market in the automobile industry," Time Technoplast informed in the presentation. The company has a strong presence in Asia and MENA regions in addition to India and boasts marquee customers such as Ashok Leyland, Tata Motors, Indian Oil, Total, and others. 


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