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Asian Development Bank

100 Climate Actions from Cities in Asia and the Pacific


In the freezing winters of Nur-Sultan, having an electric heater to warm the car engine can save hours of unnecessary idling and tons of emissions.

Vientiane is Lao PDR’s capital and its fastest growing city. The recent growth has increased the number of private vehicles resulting in traffic congestion, rising incidence of road accidents, and deteriorating air quality. The number of private vehicles has risen 17% on average annually from 2000-2009, and has increased at a growth rate of more than 10% since then.


To improve this, Nur-Sultan is launching a pilot project with 100 block heaters installed in vehicles to warm the engine and interior of the car before it is needed for use — without relying on the engine running.

The block heaters are small devices installed in the cars next to the engine that generate heat from electricity, just like a kettle. The city is also installing 53 charging stations throughout the city so the heaters can be charged when needed.

Although not the final solution for Nur-Sultan’s sustainable transportation, the block heater technology can help avoid such air pollutants and reduce greenhouse gas emissions substantially in the near-term. Through wide deployment of block heating technology, Nur-Sultan can achieve net reduction of around 430,000 tons of carbon emissions per year.

The $150,000 pilot project was funded through the ADB’s Clean Technology Fund.

Electric engine block heaters are being tested in Nur-Sultan to reduce emissions and fuel consumption from idling during Kazakh winters. The introduction of engine block heater technology will save money, improve comfort, reduce pollution, and decrease wear on car engines (photo by Andrey Terekhov).

The Challenge

During a 200-day winter season in Nur-Sultan, any extra idling time can add up to increased emissions of greenhouse gases as well as other more locally problematic air pollutants.


Health The engine block heaters reduce local air pollutants that adversely affect breathing air quality, especially for vulnerable groups such as the young and elderly.

Economic The engine block heaters cost between $100 and $250 but savings from fuel bills and repairs mean that the payback time is between 1 and 3 years.