India’s first indigenous hydrogen fuel bus launched



India’s first indigenously developed hydrogen fuel cell bus was inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, on Sunday, August 21. During the launch event the minister that the bus has been developed by KPIT-CSIR in Pune in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Green Hydrogen Mission.

The minister said at the event that the fuel cell utilizes hydrogen and air to generate electricity which powers the bus and the only effluent generated by the bus is water, making it among the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

To give you a fair idea of the dangers of pollution that India is grappling with – a single diesel bus plying on long-distance routes typically emits 100 tons of CO2 annually and there are over a million such buses in India.

Singh told the people who were attending the launch program that Modi’s Hydrogen Vision is important for India to achieve self-reliance in developing affordable and accessible clean energy, meeting climate change goals, and creating new entrepreneurs and jobs. He said that green hydrogen is an excellent clean energy vector that enables deep decarbonization of difficult-to-abate emissions from the refining industry, fertilizer industry, steel industry, cement industry, and also from heavy commercial transportation sector.

Singh added that the high efficiency of fuel cell vehicles and the high energy density of hydrogen ensures that the operational costs in rupees per kilometer for fuel cell trucks and buses are lower than diesel-powered vehicles and that this can bring freight revolution in India. Fuel Cell vehicles also give zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The Minister lauded the joint development efforts of KPIT and CSIR-NCL and pointed out that the technology prowess of Indian scientists and engineers is no less than the best in the world and also at much lower costs.

About 12-14% of CO2 emissions and particulate emissions come from diesel-powered heavy commercial vehicles. But since these are decentralized emissions, they are difficult to quantify. The minister said Hydrogen fueled vehicles provide an excellent means to eliminate the on-road emissions from this sector.

Singh said India is also aiming to increase inland waterways for freight and passenger transport.

By achieving these goals, India hopes to pole-vault from being an importer of fossil energy to becoming an exporter of clean hydrogen energy. The government of India has set its sights on providing global leadership to India in the hydrogen fuel space. The government is working on plans that will enable India to become a large green hydrogen producer and supplier of equipment for green hydrogen.

On Sunday, Singh later also inaugurated the Bisphenol-A pilot plant in CSIR-NCL and said these pilot plants have successfully demonstrated novel process technologies developed by NCL under CSIR’s Covid-19 mission program and Bulk Chemicals mission program.

Singh said, Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an important feedstock for the production of epoxy resins, polycarbonate and other engineering plastics. He said, “The global market for Bisphenol-A is projected to reach 7.1 million tons by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 2% over the analysis period 2020-2027. The entire estimated annual demand of 135,000 tons in India is imported today.”

“The uniqueness of the process developed by CSIR-NCL is a novel downstream process technology, which makes this indigenous technology competitive with global benchmarks. The process is ready for technology transfer and further co-development to commercial scale,” Singh added.