To give a fillip to India's push to usher in a hydrogen-based mobility solutions ecosystem, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) plans to buy 15 buses that can run on hydrogen fuel.
The country's largest oil refiner and fuel retailer is also setting up a facility at its Faridabad research and development (R&D) centre to produce hydrogen to run the buses, the company said in a statement.
Like all electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles use electricity to power an electric motor. In contrast to other electric vehicles, these vehicles produce electricity using a fuel cell powered by hydrogen, rather than drawing electricity from only a battery.
Fewer pollutants and less noise are among the advantages of electrically powered vehicles.
IOC said it has invited "bids to procure 15 polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell buses".
This project is the first-ever attempt in the country to address all the aspects of hydrogen-based mobility as the ultimate green option.
IOC Chairman S M Vaidya said the company has been pioneering the hydrogen efforts in the country and this exercise is part of a bigger project that aims at addressing all aspects of the hydrogen value chain.
This venture, he said, is being supported partially by the hydrogen corpus fund of the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
S S V Ramakumar, director (R&D) of IOC, said the fuel cell buses would be evaluated in collaboration with the selected original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partner through a wide-scale field validation exercise in Delhi-NCR on a structured scientific format.
"One of the key ingredients of this project is that the fuel cell stack/system technology would be indigenously developed and manufactured in the spirit of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat, thus accelerating the creation of a local ecosystem to support further activities in the hydrogen energy domain," he said.
To facilitate the hydrogen supply for refuelling these buses, IOC is also setting up demo units for different pathways to produce one tonne per day of hydrogen at its state-of-the-art R&D centre in Faridabad.