Irkutsk hosted the opening of the Silk Way International Rally 2019. Gazprom is a general partner in the project. This year, the race will traverse Russia (Eastern Siberia), Mongolia, and China.
A sports truck powered by natural gas is participating in the rally as part of the KAMAZ-Master team. The crew of the gas-fueled KAMAZ consists of Sergey Kupriyanov (pilot), Alexander Kupriyanov (navigator), and Akhmet Galyautdinov (mechanic).
The eco-friendly vehicle will travel more than 5,000 kilometers along the shores of Lake Baikal and further across the Siberian mountains, the rocky roads and steppes of Mongolia, and through the Gobi – Asia's largest desert. The race will conclude in the Chinese city of Dunhuang.
The use of natural gas in the race will help reduce adverse environmental impacts and raise public awareness about environmental problems and their possible solutions, including those involving the conversion of vehicles to natural gas.
“In 2019, the route of the Silk Way International Rally will run across unique natural areas such as the taiga, steppes, and a desert. It is more than fitting that the gas-powered KAMAZ is taking part in the competition, as this sports truck uses an eco-friendly motor fuel based on natural gas – EcoGas,” stressed Sergey Kupriyanov, pilot of the gas-fueled KAMAZ.
The production and marketing of natural gas (methane) as a vehicle fuel is one of Gazprom's priorities. A special-purpose company, Gazprom Gazomotornoye Toplivo, was established for ensuring the continuous development of the NGV market.
Today, Gazprom has more than 300 NGV refueling facilities across Russia.
Natural gas is one of the most eco-friendly and cost-effective motor fuels, with up to 10 times less hazardous emissions compared to other fuels, and with an average price of about RUB 16 per cubic meter. Gazprom established a special brand name, EcoGas, for natural gas sold at the Company-owned filling stations.
The gas-fueled KAMAZ is a special model of a sports truck powered by compressed natural gas. The model was created in 2013 by the KAMAZ-Master team with the support of Gazprom and VTB Bank. The year 2019 will see the third modification of the vehicle participating in the race. The project's goal is to demonstrate the benefits of using natural gas as a vehicle fuel.