…only qualified technicians should be engaged for conversion
…use LPG not CNG – expert insists
The Lagos State Government has urged citizens to be cautious in converting their petrol generators in homes and offices to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) generators to minimise cost.
In a statement signed by the Director-General of the Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr Lanre Mojola said that powering generators and plants with alternative fuels like LPG or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) offers several benefits, just as it comes with concomitant issues that need to be managed to forestall bad incidences.
Mojola declared that the primary advantage of using CNG and LPG is that both are generally cheaper than petrol, offering potential cost savings over the long term. CNG and LPG fuels are also cleaner and do not contaminate the air as much as petrol and diesel.
In his words: “Natural Gas and LPG are often more abundant and domestically sourced in certain regions compared to petrol. This can provide greater fuel availability and independence from fluctuations in petrol prices or supply disruptions.
“CNG and LPG combustion produces less noise compared to petrol. This results in quieter generator operation, which can be beneficial for residential use and minimise noise pollution.”
He, however, stated that spark or heat from the converted generator can cause a fire outbreak, adding that LPG has the potential for explosions if not properly handled and the risk of gas cylinders falling and releasing its content if not placed on even flooring, therefore, an explosion could occur if the generator house is not properly ventilated.
Other health hazards are: corrosion of gas cylinders can occur when left in the rain or a humid environment; exposure to direct sunlight can expose cylinders to excessive temperature with an attendant risk of explosion; and a poor installation of the hybrid carburettors on generators can increase the risks of an accident.
On her part, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Ms Shola Shasore, said that it is important to note that converting a petrol generator to use alternative and less expensive fuels may require modifications and the installation of appropriate conversion kits by qualified professionals.
Shasore said, “The general public is hereby advised to engage only qualified technicians for this service. When in doubt, please contact the Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources or Lagos State Safety Commission for guidance on professional vendors and installation as well as appropriate safety guidelines.”
It is safe – NLPGA
The president of the Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association, NLPGA, Felix Ekundayo, has emphasised the safety of using gas for generators.
He explained that LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), commonly known as cooking gas, is similar to other fuels we use regularly. As experts suggest LPG as an alternative to petrol for powering generators, Ekundayo highlighted that LPG is a cleaner fuel compared to petrol, which is a fossil fuel.
Despite the benefits, concerns have been raised by some users regarding the safety of using LPG to power generators, regardless of their size.
He emphasized the safety of the practice and encouraged Nigerians to consider it.
Mr. Ekundayo addressed the perceived risk associated with using LPG for generators, emphasising that it is more of a human handling issue rather than a problem with the fuel itself. He stated that LPG, when handled properly, is as safe to use as petrol.
In his explanation, he compared the handling of LPG for generators to its use in homes for cooking and kitchen tasks, highlighting that there is no difference. As more people are already using LPG for cooking, the transition to using it for generators poses no issue.
Furthermore, Mr. Ekundayo discussed the process of switching between petrol and gas in generators. He mentioned that the change in the generator carburetor can facilitate this switch. Some individuals may choose to retain the carburetor and add a converter, enabling the generator to run on both fuels. Others may opt to use gas directly.
He stressed the importance of making alterations to generators in a safe and approved manner. Qualified technicians should be sought to perform these conversions, rather than relying on just anyone.
Overall, Mr. Ekundayo reassured that using LPG for generators can be a safe and viable choice. Proper handling and seeking professional expertise are crucial for a smooth transition and safe operation.
Using compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative to LPG has been suggested due to its lighter nature, potentially offering enhanced safety. However, Mr. Ekundayo expressed his view stating that using CNG for home and small portable generators is not practical.
While it may work, the distribution mechanism for CNG is not feasible in this context. He emphasized that each variant of natural gas has its specific applications and purposes.
In expanding on this point, it can be understood that while CNG may have advantages in terms of being lighter and potentially safer, its distribution infrastructure and requirements may not be suitable for home and small portable generators. LPG, on the other hand, is widely available and has an established distribution network, making it a more practical choice for such applications.
The statement by Mr. Ekundayo indicates that different forms of natural gas, including CNG and LPG, have specific uses depending on the intended purpose and the existing infrastructure to support their distribution.
Preventing gas leaks
Mr. Ekundayo highlighted that the prevention of gas leaks can be achieved by ensuring the use of appropriate accessories. These accessories encompass regulators, hoses (which should undergo regular checks and replacement every 2-3 years), valves, cylinders, and clips used to secure the gas until it is ready to be ignited.
In emphasizing the importance of safety, Mr. Ekundayo states that the same level of safety measures employed for cooking with gas at home should also be maintained for using gas in generators and other appliances. Furthermore, he points out that gas-fired appliances, such as those used for washing machines and dryers in laundry services, follow similar safety practices.
The statement made by Mr. Ekundayo underlines the need for proper equipment and adherence to safety protocols to prevent gas leaks and ensure the safe use of gas in various applications. It emphasizes the parallels between safety practices in cooking and other gas-powered activities.
According to Mr. Ekundayo, gas cylinders/canisters should be changed every 15 years but recertified every five years.Follow us on social media