Tata Motors wins order for 15 hydrogen-based fuel cell buses from IOCL

The deal would entail supplying buses to the R&D Centre of IOCL at Faridabad apart from Tata Motors collaborating with the country’s largest fuel retailer to undertake R&D projects


Tata Motors | IOCL

Jyoti Mukul  | 
New Delhi 

India’s move towards alternative automotive fuel technology got a fillip with Tata Motors bagging an order of 15 hydrogen-based fuel cell buses from Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. The deal would entail supplying buses to the Research & Development Centre of IOCL at Faridabad apart from Tata Motors collaborating with the country’s largest fuel retailer to undertake R&D projects.

Tata Motors is the largest commercial vehicle player and a leading bus manufacturer in India. The two partners would collectively study the potential of fuel cell technology for commercial vehicles. This will be done by jointly testing, maintaining and operating these buses for public transport in real-world conditions in the National Capital Region. The buses would be re-fuelled by hydrogen, generated and dispensed by IOCL.

SSV Ramakumar, director (R&D), IndianOil, said the company would be setting up one tonne a day of hydrogen production pilot plants based on four innovative pathways besides collaborating with Tata Motors for fuel cell research.

IOCL, in fact, is also running a pilot for hydrogen CNG (HCNG) as a fuel. The NCR region under the Supreme Court oversight is inducting 50 HCNG powered buses that are BSIV compliant.

Tata Motors in Thursday’s press statement said the order would entail supplying 15 hydrogen-based proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell buses. IOCL had invited bids for supply of PEM fuel cell buses in December 2020. All 15 buses would be delivered within 144 weeks from the date of signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.

Girish Wagh, president, commercial vehicle business unit, Tata Motors said the tender from IOCL would add to Tata Motors’ legacy of introducing future ready technologies for cleaner and greener public transport. “We have successfully supplied 215 EV buses under FAME I and won orders for 600 EV buses under FAME II,” said Wagh.

SM Vaidya, chairman, IndianOil, said his company was pioneering the efforts towards ushering in the hydrogen economy for various applications, including mobility. This was the first of its kind project in the country and would enable the two partners to take it to the next level. This initiative would also act as a stepping stone for various other key programs of IndianOil, which proposes to introduce hydrogen-based mobility on different iconic routes and important sectors in the country, he said.

Indian companies are increasingly looking at hydrogen as an alternative fuel in order to combat pollution levels in the country especially in the NCR where winter months see dangerous levels of polluted air. Production of hydrogen, however, requires a lot of energy so the green hydrogen concept is being pushed globally and within India as well. Green hydrogen uses renewable sources of power for production.

Among other Indian players looking at hydrogen are Reliance Industries Ltd and JSW Steel. US-headquartered Chart Industries and RIL had in April announced a new industry body focused on commercializing hydrogen technologies and systems to build net-zero carbon pathways in India.

Called India H2 Alliance (IH2A), it would work together to build the hydrogen economy and supply chain in India and help develop blue and green hydrogen production and storage as well as build hydrogen-use industrial clusters and transport use-cases with hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

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