India’s first hydrogen-powered buses on Delhi roads from November
Delhi will be the first city in the country to roll out hydrogen-enriched compressed natural gas (HCNG) buses
for public transport from November.
As a pilot project, 50 CNG buses of the existing 5,521 fleet of state-run buses and will be retrofitted with HCNG instead.
On Thursday, the Delhi government along with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) began work to set up India’s first semi-commercial HCNG station which they said will be ready by October.
“Performance of these buses will be analysed every week by IOCL and the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT). Our assessment says that HCNG buses also give 3-4% fuel economy improvement. They reduce carbon footprint. However, there is no reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions,” said SSV Ramakumar, Director (R&D), IOCL.
Bhure Lal and Sunita Narain of the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA), who were also present at the stone-laying ceremony at Rajghat-I depot, which is going to be turned into an HCNG station for this project, said IOCL is already working on a separate project to find a way in reducing NOx emissions. “Besides, the corporation should not only test HCNG on the 50 BS-IV buses, but also in the new BS-VI buses which will arrive in Delhi next year. This will make the use of HCNG more futuristic,” said Narain.
Delhi already has more than 10 million registered vehicles and nearly 1,500 vehicles are added every day. According to a 2018 TERI-ARAI study, the transport sector contributes around 28-30% to Delhi’s pollution during winters.
“We are setting up infrastructure in the depot to convert HCNG into electricity. So, if there is any unused HCNG left at the end of the day, we will be able to produce electricity, give it to the grid and earn from it,” said ES.Ranganathan, managing director, IGL.
Preliminary assessment by IOCL 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.