Tata Motors and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) have begun the country’s first demonstration trials for a hydrogen fuel cell bus. The demonstration event was held in the presence of Dr R Chidambaram, principal scientific adviser to the government of India and the chairman and board members of Indian Oil.
The bus was flagged off during the 47th Foundation Day function of Indian Oil’s R&D centre, Faridabad. The project is being executed under partial financial support from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
Dr R Chidambaram, principal, scientific adviser to government of India, along with the chairman and board members of Indian Oil inaugurating IOC's fuel cell laboratory during the 47th Foundation Day function of Indian Oil.
Tata Motors first showcased the zero emission Fuel Cell (Hydrogen) Starbus, claimed to be ideal for stop-and-go applications, at Auto Expo 2012. In January 2017, it revealed a raft of eco-friendly buses – electric, hybrid, fuel cell and LNG.
Compared with battery-electric vehicles — which recharge their batteries by plugging in — the combination of fast, centralised refueling and longer driving ranges make fuel cells particularly appropriate for larger vehicles, with long-distance requirements, or for operations with lack of a plug access.
In the Hydrogen Fuel-Cell bus, hydrogen is stored in a compressed form, combining with oxygen from the air to generate electricity, giving out water vapour as the only emission. This technology makes bus travel completely clean and silent on-road. However, like other electric vehicles (EVs), the Fuel Cell Starbus employs idle-off, which shuts down the fuel cell at stop signs or in traffic.
Hydrogen is considered to be the fuel of the future and using fuel cell technology, very high efficiencies can be achieved with water as the only component in the exhaust. To be fuelled at India’s first hydrogen dispensing facility at Indian Oil's R&D Centre, the vehicle would be subjected to long duration trials to understand the durability and efficacy of the fuel cell technology for mobility applications.
The occasion also marked the inauguration of the fuel cell laboratory at Indian Oil’s R&D Centre, which is also the leading energy research centre in the country and has pioneered several cutting-edge technologies in the downstream petroleum sector.