India launches its indigenously built hydrogen fuel cell bus

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Pune: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology Jitendra Singh on Sunday launched India’s first truly indigenously built hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) bus developed jointly by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and KPIT Ltd in Pune.

The launch of HFC powered bus is a major leap forward towards Atmnirbhar Bharat Mission that seeks to develop the means of affordable and accessible clean energy, meeting climate change goals, and creating new entrepreneurs and jobs,” said the Minister.

He said, green hydrogen is an excellent clean energy vector that enables deep decarbonization of difficult-to-abate emissions from the refining industry, fertiliser industry, steel industry, cement industry and also from the heavy commercial transportation sector.

How does hydrogen fuel cell work?

The fuel cell utilizes hydrogen and air to generate electricity to power the bus and the only effluent from the bus is water, therefore making it possibly the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation. For comparison, 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.

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The high efficiency of fuel cell vehicles and the high energy density of hydrogen ensures that the operational costs in rupees per kilometre for fuel cell trucks and buses are lower than diesel powered vehicles and this can bring freight revolution in India. Moreover, fuel cell vehicles also give zero green-house gas emissions. The Minister lauded the joint development efforts of KPIT Ltd 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.

Hydrogen fuel powered vehicles to check CO2 emission

About 12-14% CO2 emissions and particulate emissions come from diesel powered heavy commercial vehicles and these are decentralised emissions and hence difficult to capture. The Minister said, Hydrogen fuelled vehicles provide an excellent means to eliminate the on-road emissions from this sector. He said, India is also aiming to increase inland waterways for freight and passenger transport.

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The Minister reiterated the Central Government’s commitment to make India a lead exporter of clean hydrogen energy than being an importer of the fossil fuel and thus, providing global leadership to India in hydrogen space.

Minister inaugurates Bisphenol plant

Later, the Minister 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.

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Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an important feedstock for the production of epoxy resins, polycarbonate and other engineering plastics. 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 1, 35,000 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.

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