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Weighing in on COVID-19

Think of those fighting on the frontlines

On the 11th of March 2020, the Coronavirus or COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. The last time this happened was 11 years ago and for many, COVID-19 is something of a new and unexpected threat. It seems to have taken many of us by surprise, spreading unabated across the world.

Although a coronavirus—a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)—had not previously triggered a pandemic, this is not the first time our healthcare professionals have seen the transmission of a serious disease.

There is no armistice. The virus is a 24-hour war machine pushing to infect as quick as possible to ensure dominance.

For those working in the health sector, the threat of infection is very real, and in some cases very personal. They are in essence our frontline troops in a war against time. In the United Kingdom, for example, doctors in some cases are performing invasive procedures on patients positive for COVID-19 even though the recommended prevention masks are not available, leaving them no choice but to go ahead wearing a surgical mask that does not provide the appropriate level of protection against infection.

 “Wartime” healthcare

We are battle ready and we have been here before. In the 1980’s the HIV/AIDS epidemic quickly spread throughout Southern Africa and to-date 36 million people have died globally from the virus. In 2002, SARS had a quicker effect on infections with a global reach causing an estimated 8000 infections cases with a 10% mortality rate.

Wartime healthcare takes a massive amount of dedication, energy and time from those on the frontlines. Healthcare professionals have to deal with a variety of challenges ranging from equipment shortages, lack of adequate facilities to the struggle for public participation.

“If we can’t protect our healthcare workers, they can’t protect the public,”

–  C. Michael Gibson, MD

The Allied Healthcare Association of South Africa (AHASA) is calling on the public to support healthcare professionals in the war against COVID-19. With adequate support and effort stemming from those in the medical field, we can reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19.

How we can help?

Up and above the health and safety advice given by our Government, below are 3 additional ways we could help healthcare professionals fight the war against COVID-19:

Stick to the facts. By the spreading of misinformation, in essence, you are putting the lives of others in danger. The Daily Maverick summed up public misinformation by posting an article on the 11Myths of COVID-19 in South Africa, they are:

Myth 1: Most people who contract COVID-19 will get very sick or die

Myth 2: Since COVID-19 is less deadly than SARS, it will kill fewer people

Myth 3: You can stay safe by avoiding Chinese people

Myth 4: Only older men need to worry about COVID-19

Myth 5: All I need to protect myself from COVID-19 is a mask

Myth 6: People with COVID-19 are easy to identify

Myth 7: Government is hiding South Africa’s real COVID-19 numbers

Myth 8: People who cough in the coming weeks probably have COVID-19

Myth 9: There is a secret cure for COVID-19

Myth 10: My pet is at risk from COVID-19

Myth 11: I should avoid Chinese food until COVID-19 is forgotten

Follow news from reliable sources. The World Health Organisation has a dedicated page to convey information on the virus. Visit the page by clicking here (link). Locally, our Government is leading the charge with a serious of communication channels reporting back to the public on a minute by minute basis.  

Cut back on elective surgery or medical treatment. Many hospitals are reporting a spike in the public requesting non-essential medical treatments.  With roughly 3 000 out of about 7 000 critical care beds available between the public and private healthcare sectors, any serious escalation in COVID-19 cases may lead to shortages in actual beds.

Overall be sensible in your approach to this pandemic. It is not the first and certainly not the last time we will face a threat like this. With the right support from the public COVID-19 infection and mortality rates can be reduced. While in isolation, think of the many people working on the frontlines to protect you and your family.

Virtual Pipelines transporting Natural Gas

Natural gas is no longer limited by pipelines and location, Natural Gas can be delivered right to your door. In South Africa, CNG Holdings has introduced a simple and reliable way to access Compressed Natural Gas through the Virtual Gas Network; allowing access to gas by road delivery.

Physical pipelines are no longer needed between the source and users, the Virtual Gas Network has replicated the flow of physical pipelines and reached beyond where the geographically limited pipeline can reach. The Virtual Gas Network is not bound by route or infrastructure, allowing Natural Gas to be supplied and delivered to diverse areas effortlessly.

How does the Virtual ‘pipeline’ work?

The Virtual Gas Network starts with the Natural Gas being processed and compressed at CNG Holdings’ mother station and then transported to the desiredlocation for the end-user to use via road.

Through this innovative modular road transport system, the Virtual Gas Network can safely and economically transport Natural Gas to refuelling stations, gas distributions networks, industries, power generation systems, as well as to customers who are not on an existing pipeline.

CNG Holdings’ Virtual Gas Network is a system that is reliable and economically sound, where we might face power outages, energy source price spikes and other complications; CNG (compressed natural gas) is delivered as frequently as required and in the desired quantity, giving you control of your power generation and fuel utilization.

The freedom from electricity and petrol

Natural Gas can be used for various applications ranging from manufacturing to mining, and using Natural gas saves you from the prices of electricity and petrol, as Natural Gas has a stable cost and supply.

Load-shedding is too common in South Africa, and we need innovative solutions to our energy problems; Natural Gas can help decrease the downtown for many businesses, and help increase the productivity and profitability of businesses and industries.

Using Natural Gas as a source of power and fuel (or as an alternative to your primary source of energy) can save time and money in power generation and energy usage.

For the same amount of heat, Natural Gas emits 30% less carbon dioxide than burning oil and 45% less carbon dioxide than burning coal.

The tailor-made power solution

Businesses and industries of various sizes can benefit from the Virtual Gas Network and using CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). The Virtual ‘pipeline’ can be used and tailored for individual power and fuel needs – gas consumed can be specified and delivered as per demand, and this tailored solution works for all industries power and energy requirements.

Tried and test worldwide

South Africa is catching up to the rest of the world, and using methods tried and tested in other countries with growing economies, such as The United States of America, European Union and Russia – who all make use of the idea of the virtual pipeline to conveniently circulate Natural Gas across their countries and industries.

Smaller countries and economies that have lacked the infrastructure for physical pipelines, and have insufficient energy demands to justify the development of commercial Natural Gas infrastructure have also adopted the virtual system of transporting Natural Gas affordably and efficiently. South Africa’s economy and size makes the usage of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and the utilisation of the Virtual Gas Network vital for our power generation, fuel and energy requirements.

Navigating Load shedding post lockdown

The Energy to grow your business

There is no doubt that the South African economy is going to have a tough 2020. Virtual Gas Network has embarked on a drive to help manufacturers increase savings on energy, through an established gas network.  Majority of industries throughout South Africa can now take advantage of major reductions in cost through the virtual use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Recovering costs after lockdown

Manufacturers running on electricity face two challenges. The first is the reliability of this energy source and secondly the increase in the pricing of electricity. With an estimated 70% of the workforce unable to work during the lockdown, it is safe to ascertain that once the lockdown is lifted, load shedding will commence. Unlike fuel, the cost of producing electricity is not demand-driven. Reported in The Independent online, it is estimated that should Eskom have its way, South African’s could be paying 90% more for electricity come 2022. Considering the shift to CNG could help business source the energy to grow.

Why move to CNG now

Pricing is a major factor in the decision to move to CNG. CNG’s pricing is more stable than conventional heavy fuels and eliminates the uncertainty associated with price fluctuations of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel and paraffin.

CNG is reliable. An energy product in abundance, CNG always has spare capacity on-site in the form of additional storage tanks. This is ideally suited for unpredictability in demand post lockdown. In essence, CNG is there where and whenever you need it.

Through a virtual network, CNG is available to those companies “off-grid”. Through a sub-station on the customer’s premises, CNG is on-tap 24/365.

The future is CNG

MarketWatch predicted the future market size of CNG reaching $4.8 billion by 2025. South Africa plays an important role in this market showing continues market growth in both the industrial and transportation sectors. 

With the rise in environmental issues such as climatic change and depleting ozone layer many nations, including South Africa, have radically increased use of CNG in manufacturing.

South Africa is not alone. Large investments in the North African region are expected to exceed $30 billion a year. This amount is anticipated to equal at least 3 percent of North Africa’s (collective) Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

CNG benefits

Compressed Natural Gas is a tried and tested energy source. Since the late 1700’s Natural Gas was used in manufacturing and power generation with CNG coming into use in the 1880s. With reduced emissions using CNG contributes to a company’s carbon credits, a benefit in itself.

Manufacturing is driven by demand. Purchasing CNG means you can plan, budget and operate more efficiently. As the economy recovers, demand increase, Natural Gas supply equipment can be easily installed and provided at no direct cost to the company.  

Converting to NGV has never been this crucial for SMEs!

Petrol prices have become a constant problem in South Africa. The biggest factor in the fluctuation of petrol prices in South Africa is the global price of crude oil (which is used to produce diesel and petrol). 

This is a huge factor for every South African citizen, particularly Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that rely on transport and mobility. These range from logistics companies to the local plumber who has to travel from one location to the other to make an income. 

All SMEs experience internal difficulties which make generating profit a bit of a struggle. This varies from not making enough profit to having too many expenses. Amongst these expenses, the cost of getting from A to B is one of the biggest cost factors to overcome.

Because oil is traded in Dollars, the Rand/Dollar has a direct impact on how many Rands are required to purchase a barrel of oil. When the Rand depreciates against the Dollar, which has been the case, it increases the Rands required to purchase the same amount of oil. How can an SME control this? What control does Bob the Builder who relies on his bakkie to get him around have on this? Little to none! 

An alternative fuel: An economic life-saver

SMEs, who rely on mobility to generate income, are not restrained to using petrol or diesel. Across the globe, various transport-reliant businesses have converted to Natural Gas as an alternative fuel for their bakkies, vans, scooters, motorbikes even delivery tricycles! This global trend is due to the reliable price of Natural Gas, which, contrary to petrol and diesel, is not reliant on the Rand/Dollar rate. Natural Gas requires very little refining and no vigorous maintenance, as opposed to crude oil. Natural Gas is exactly that, Natural.

“I think many people are realising the economic, as well as the environmental, benefits of using CNG as an alternative fuel” Abdelhakim, manager of Al Etihad Centre (NGV Global News)

Easy as 1,2,3

SMEs can easily convert their current vehicles to run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), this conversion can be done to have the vehicle run on Natural Gas as a bi-fuel, with the option to both Natural Gas and petrol. 

NGV Global has updated its report on the number of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and refuelling stations, country by country. According to the information at hand, there are now more than 27 million NGVs in the world. Growth is forecast to exceed 30 million by 2024 – NGV Global.

NGV Gas, a division of CNG Holdings is currently helping various SMEs convert their vehicles and save on their fuel bill. CNG Holdings has filling stations in Langlaagte, Dobsonville, Vanderbijlpark, and Pretoria. 

The kit can be purchased or financed and can be easily installed by CNG Holding’s approved workshops. NGV Gas is currently converting petrol and diesel vehicles up to 185KW for less than R20 000. Despite the soaring price of petrol and diesel (pricing subject to change), SMEs can survive. For information on converting your vehicle to Natural Gas, contact CNG Holdings on 0860 116 917.

Reducing Energy Costs for SMEs

Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are a cornerstone of South Africa’s economy. The government’s National Development Plan 2030 (NDP 2030) looks to SMEs as the major sources of employment and drivers of growth in our economy. 

Energy, under its operational cost, is one of the many expenses faced by the SME.  Sourcing a reliable source that is not overly expensive is essential to keeping these businesses functioning, every rand counts to these businesses. 

Natural Gas is cost-effective with stable prices that do not fluctuate with the price of petrol, diesel or electricity. It burns cleaner than many commercially and industrially used sources of energy. 

Natural Gas Consumption around the World

Across the globe, businesses are increasingly relying on Natural Gas to run profitable businesses. 

“Trinidad and Tobago, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Belarus, Oman, Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Moldova, and Singapore generate 91-99.6%, and Bangladesh and Nigeria more than 80% of their electricity from natural gas” WorldAtlas

There is a global receptiveness to the use of Natural Gas. The increase in the use of Natural Gas is also closely linked to its environmental benefits when compared to other fossil fuels, particularly for its ability to maintain great air quality and low greenhouse gas emissions even at its peak use. This is great news for SMEs in South Africa considering the emerging of the Carbon Tax Bill! 

The Future of Natural Gas supply

Historically, the use of Natural Gas has been constrained due to deficiency in the required infrastructure. This explains why South African seems far behind when compared to the rest of the world with regards to Natural Gas conversions. 

However, CNG Holdings, having seen this hurdle, through its division, the Virtual Gas Network, introduced a simple and reliable way to access Natural Gas, even in areas that do that have the traditional Natural Gas

infrastructure! The Virtual Gas Network supplies compressed natural gas through a virtual gas distribution network. Through this innovative modular road transport system, the Virtual Gas Network can safely and economically transport natural gas to refuelling stations, gas distribution networks, industries, power generation systems, as well as to customers who are not on an existing gas pipeline. This trailer road distribution system is ideal for SMEs that require a reliable and inexpensive source of energy that assures quality energy at an affordable rate. These businesses cannot afford to have any downtime on production! 

The conversion to Natural Gas could help small businesses lower their operation costs and focus on providing high-quality goods and services to their customers. The supply of Natural Gas for commercial and industrial use continues to grow due to the emergence and advancement of key technologies that unlock the supply of Natural Gas.