In a statement today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded as a huge resolution the ‘Hydrogen Mission’ announced in the Budget 2021, underlining that future fuels and green energy are the way forward for attaining self-sufficiency for India’s energy requirements. Highlighting that India has already tested its first indigenously-developed hydrogen car, Modi added that the automotive industry in the country needs to be ready for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
India’s very first hydrogen fuel cell passenger vehicle was tested in October last year by CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) and KPIT Technologies. Hydrogen fuel cell technology uses chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen (from the air) to generate electrical energy, eliminating the use of fossil fuels.
CSIR and KPIT have developed a 10 kWe (Kilowatt-electric) automotive grade LT-PEMFC (low-temperature PEM fuel cell) stack based on CSIR’s know-how. The heart of the PEM fuel cell technology includes the membrane electrode assembly, which is wholly a CSIR know-how.
The trials were run on a battery-electric passenger car platform retrofitted with the fuel cell stack. However, it is expected that the technology is more suited for commercial vehicles (CV) such as buses and trucks. Battery electric buses/ trucks require a large battery to achieve the desired operating range.
In January 2018, Tata Motors introduced its first hydrogen fuel cell-powered bus. Hydrogen-powered Tata Starbus fuel cell bus is a zero-emission vehicle for inter-city transportation for the masses and was developed in a partnership with ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).
The homegrown brand Tata Motors has a number of buses that run on alternative fuel. The company has extensively tested CNG hybrid buses. Tata also signed a contract for the largest ever single order for hybrid electric vehicle technology with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) in 2017.
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