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Delhi to roll out hydrogen-enriched CNG buses next year

The Delhi government has tied up with Indian Oil Corporation Limited, a public sector undertaking, to induct 50 HCNG-fuelled buses on a trial basis to help study the technology and its infrastructure requirements.

delhi Updated: Sep 06, 2018 03:17 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CNG,Buses,Arvind Kejriwal
Low-floor CNG buses that are currently in use. (Arvind Yadav/HT File)

Delhi will be the first city in India to roll out hydrogen-enriched CNG (HCNG) buses for public transport next year onwards.

The Delhi government has tied up with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), a public sector undertaking, to induct 50 HCNG-fuelled buses on a trial basis to help study the technology and its infrastructure requirements.

In this project, IOCL plans to test the performance of buses and reduction in emissions by mixing 18-20% of hydrogen to CNG (compressed natural gas) in every bus. “The best thing about HCNG is that it does not require any modification of the engine or retrofitment. Only some calibration is required in the bus. Whatever work is needed will be done at the depot. HCNG will reduce carbon emission by up to 20% in each of the 50 CNG bus,” said transport commissioner Varsha Joshi.

The IOCL, on Wednesday, conveyed to the Delhi government that it would use the Rajghat depot for the trials, work for which is set to begin by the end of this month.

According to SSV Kumar, director of reserach and development of IOCL, the move will be “significant” as this will be the second major transformation to a cleaner fuel for Delhi’s state-run buses after the “almost overnight” shift to CNG in 2002.

“Until now, we have been doing trials with two buses in Faridabad. Soon, we will begin HCNG trials on 50 CNG buses of the Delhi government. Our assessment says that HCNG buses also give 3-4% fuel economy improvement compared to a CNG bus. While they reduce carbon footprint, there is no reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions,” Kumar said.

Preliminary assessment by the company has revealed that the cost escalation for shifting to HCNG buses will be about 72 paise per kilometre, which it hopes would break-even once the technology is used on a large scale.

To convert all of Delhi’s existing 5,500 CNG bus fleet to this fuel, Kumar said, the government will require 400 tonnes of HCNG on a daily basis and 48 compact steam methane reforming (SMR) units. An SMR is the unit that produces hydrogen for the HCNG fuel.

“We have already finalised the design of the compact SMR unit. At the depot, the pump will just have another section of HCNG fuel, apart from the CNG to dispense the fuel into the bus. We would need six months to set up the depot and then trial will begin,” Kumar said.

On July 2, the Supreme Court had asked the Delhi government to explore the feasibility of introducing ‘zero emission’ and cost effective hydrogen-run public transport buses instead of procuring electric buses for the city.

First Published: Sep 06, 2018 03:17 IST