The Minister of Transportation, Saidu Alkali, has revealed that the federal government has commenced the retrofitting of railway locomotive engines to Hybrid engines in order to utilise Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

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The minister who disclosed this yesterday during an inspection on the retrofitting exercise at Idu train station in Abuja, stated that if successful, the locomotive engines will work on 70 per cent diesel and 30 percent gas.

Alkali, while speaking on the sidelines shortly after the inspection, explained that the process was currently at an advanced stage as the engine is designed in such a way that the diesel is used to power the engine after which it is switched to gas.

He said: “We started in the last one month. Nigeria is the first African country to convert diesel engine to gas, the engine will work 70 per cent on diesel and 30 per cent on gas. At the start of the locomotive, you use diesel ones and after starting it, you switch to gas.

“We have interacted with the engineers and the process is at advanced stage and we are going to test-run the engine tomorrow (Tuesday) and then determine when we will start rolling out the CNG locomotives.”

On the benefits, the Minister said it will bring down the cost of maintenance by about 60 to 70 percent as well as control emission, given that once the locomotive moves to gas, there won’t be gas emissions.

He, however said that the process will be beginning with the Abuja-Kaduna rail corridor, given that the workshop for the conversion is in Abuja, noting that they intend to move to other corridors soon.