My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: JUTC, Challenger and LNG - Journey to the Center of the Earth

Friday, January 14, 2011

JUTC, Challenger and LNG - Journey to the Center of the Earth

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Brings us farther than to-day.

Longfellow, A Psalm of Life

The JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transport Corporation), aside from the teething pains of the Downtown Municipal Transport Centre as chronicled in my blog article entitled “JUTC and the Downtown Municipal Transport Centre - Planes, Trains & Automobiles” has the problem that has basically been my source of employment in my chosen field of engineering: Maintenance. Buses, a gift from Holland, are, believe it or not, refurbished in Brazil. Say what?!

That’s right folks, I did not misspeak – nor can my words be misconstrued to mean otherwise. Refurbished in Brazil to the tune of US$12 million dollars, at least according to Reginald Allen, Communications Manager at the JUTC as stated in the article “JUTC to renovate Buses here”, published Monday, January 17, 2011 by COREY ROBINSON Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

With a brand new bus costing US$30 million, refurbishing is cheaper. But that is only part of the reason for my exclamation of surprise. Brazilians are getting work on Buses that we pay taxes to maintain. It thus seems unfair. Especially as many Jamaican fabricators and Engine Maintenance people are here in Jamaica.

The savings would have to be significant to make it worthwhile, so I can speak little on this, as the article presents no proof to indicate its feasibility. But the story also makes a strong case for why Jamaica urgently needs to tackle the problem of the abnormally high Sulphur content in our fuel.

Local Diesel has 5000 ppm of Sulphur, way above what is acceptable internationally, which is between 10 to 15 pmm as stated in the article “Government moving to improve motor fuel quality - Samuda”, published Sunday, November 28, 2010, by MARK CUMMINGS, The Jamaica Observer. Most likely, other fuels such as Premium Gasoline, which despite having anti-knocking additives Anhydrous Ethanol, may also contain similar concentrations of Sulphur.

Thus the long term health of the Buses should be high on the agenda of the JUTC, not to mention the cost of running the Bus service. A novel solution blossoms in the East, ironically from a country that is already here in the West with a keen eye for investment: The People’s Republic of China.

In this distant Orient, the Communist regime has demonstrated yet again that despite their bad human right record and suppression of Freedom of speech, there are advantages to having a strong Central Government. Recently, in November 2010, the Government of the People’s Republic of China has decided to power its Buses that a part of its Public Transport systems using LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) as stated in the article “China to promote LNG in Public transport”, published November 25, 2010 at 15:30 by Commodity Online and confirmed in the article “China: China to promote LNG in Public Transport”, published November 26, 2010 by Chemnet.

LNG has a higher Volumetric Energy Density than Gasoline or even Diesel. This statement is easily backed up by the Volumetric Energy Density of LNG (Joules per Kilogram) numbers of LNG versus other fuels, with which it compares relative well, with LNG having a value of 53 MJ/kg as stated in the article “Energy Density”, viewed Monday January 18 2010 by WikiPedia with Diesel and Gasoline sporting figures of 46.2 MJ/kg and 46.4 MJ/kg respectively .

It is already a gas so it burns cleanly with no residue and can be utilized in any engine, even compression engines with only minor modifications as explained in the my blog article entitled “LPG and the Challenger Transport Co. Ltd.  - A Cheaper Fuel” and as stated in the article entitled “Alternative Energy and BioFuels - LNG is the Beginning”. Thus the engine lasts longer and is healthier between lengthier servicing. As mentioned in the blog article, Challenger Transport Company Ltd (926-6414) can do the retrofit cost effectively.

Thus, to truly have the appropriate Cost Benefit to the Jamaican motorist, Senator Mike Henry, Minister of Transport and Works should take off his rose coloured glasses and demonstrate some support for the embattled Senator James Robertson, Minister of Energy and Mining and his push for the introduction of LNG to Jamaica as stated in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and the Caribbean - Peak Oil in 2015 and The Day After Tomorrow”.

Its usage on commuter Buses is amply demonstrated in the People’s Republic of China. Thus, as a means of performing Preventative Maintenance, the use of LNG as a fuel would reduce the wear and tear on the engine, which would go longer between servicing, saving the Government of Jamaica considerable expense on fuel and extending the lifespan of the Buses. Thanks of course to a LNG retrofit by Challenger Transport Company Ltd. Not to mention all those voters…er………ah…I mean workers that the servicing of Buses could employ, Around the World in 80 Days (2004) Style! 

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