Hydrogen is already playing a vital role in the transport sector across the globe, India too is anticipating major transformation.
ROLE OF HYDROGEN IN TRANSPORTATION
Hydrogen has already played a transformative role in many global economies. For instance, the US transport sector has witnessed a significant role of hydrogen in the material handling of goods at distribution centers in all continental states and Canadian provinces. The next sectors of interest include light-, medium- and heavy-duty road transport, heavy and urban light rail, and ships. Altogether, the transport sector accounts for 35 percent of US carbon emissions and is a key contributor to local air pollution, making a transition to zero emissions options a priority. The two primary options for zero emission transportation are electric drive trains powered by hydrogen fuel cells in FCEVs and batteries in BEVs.
Both are used for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles, but FCEVs store energy as hydrogen (15 kWh per kg) and convert it to electricity – as needed – via a fuel cell, while a BEV stores energy as electricity in a battery. In India also, a lot of development work has been initiated by the government for usage of hydrogen in the transport sector. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, India has already notified hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in automotive industry standard (AIS) 157. Also, in September 2020, its has been notified that 18% of the hydrogen to be blended with CNG to make HCNG as an automotive fuel. Various hydrogen powered vehicles have been developed and demonstrated under projects supported by the Indian government. These include 6 fuel cell buses (by Tata Motors Ltd.), 50 hydrogen enriched CNG (H-CNG) buses in Delhi (by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. in collaboration with government of NCT of Delhi), 2 hydrogen fuelled internal combustion engine buses (by IIT Delhi in collaboration with Mahindra & Mahindra),
Hydrogen can also be used as a feedstock to produce low carbon fuels like synthetic fuel for aviation and marine shipping - Hydrogen Roadmap, US
15 hydrogen fuelled 3 wheelers (by IIT Delhi in collaboration with Mahindra & Mahindra), 2 hydrogen –diesel dual fuel cars (by Mahindra & Mahindra) and 1 fuel cell car (by CSIR – National Chemical Laboratory , CSIR- Central Electrochemical Laboratory and CSIR – National Physical Laboratory).
Further, as a part of the pilot project, NTPC may run super- luxury hydrogen buses between Delhi and Jaipur, one of the busiest routes in north India. Initially, a total of 10 buses and 10 cars for Leh and Delhi is expected to be rolled out.
In December 2021, Pune based Sentient Labs launched a 32 seater hydrogen fuel cell bus that shall provide a range 450 kilometers by utilising 30 kg of hydrogen. Satient Labs has designed and developed the hydrogen bus in collaboration with CSIR. Further, there are plans to convert 5 lakh buses from the total of 20 lakh running on roads into fuel cell powered vehicles.
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