Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on March 29 said hydrogen buses will soon be plying on the streets of India, adding that, if it was up to him he would use hydrogen to fuel aeroplanes as well.
“We aspire to be an energy exporter and not an importer. Keeping this in mind, India is looking at the future of transport. We will soon use hydrogen to fuel aeroplanes,” Gadkari said addressing the News18 Rising India Summit in New Delhi.
The minister added that a hydrogen bus was unveiled in Pune last year and very soon hydrogen buses will become common.
In August last year, India’s first indigenous Hydrogen fuel cell bus was unveiled in Pune. The Hydrogen fuel cell bus is developed by the CSIR - Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and KPIT Limited. Powered by fuel cells, it utilises Hydrogen and Air to generate electricity.
“There are three types of hydrogen – brown, black and green. We are looking to use waste and wastewater to generate green hydrogen. The Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru has figured out a way to make green hydrogen from biowaste without power,” Gadkari said adding that using this one, it can travel over 400 kilometres at just Rs 80.
Gadkari said that once the country scales the production of green hydrogen, this can be used to drastically reduce the cost of transportation in the country while being sustainable.
Last week, the minister had suggested extracting hydrogen from treated water instead of exploiting fresh sources, as the government doubles down on promoting the use of clean and renewable energy sources.
He cited the example of Mathura where 80 MLD of sludge is converted into clean water and supplied to Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) for use in its refinery. Refineries need a lot of water as they produce grey hydrogen in large quantities.
"Hydrogen is the fuel for the future. It is used in chemical, pharmaceutical and steel industries to name a few and it can be used in railways, truck transport and even aviation," he had said.
Speaking on issues related to road safety, the minister said that "Indians have no fear or respect for laws". He added that if the behaviour of people can be changed then more lives will be saved from road accidents.
“You need to stop at a traffic light. In foreign countries, if an elderly is crossing the road, drivers stop from a distance. They follow lane discipline, stop at red lights and wear helmets. Here, people don’t take the law seriously,” Gadkari said.
He added that India needs a serious approach to road safety. The country witnesses five lakh road accidents per year and 1.5 lakh deaths.
"At least 60 percent of the victims are young professionals in the 18-34 age group. If we follow the rules, we can save lives. At this moment, we are the highest in the world [in accidents], this is nothing to be proud of. If human behaviour will change, the problem will be solved,” he said.
When asked how the agencies can bring in changes, Gadkari said, “We have made 16 steps at the RTO digital. We are looking at a corruption-free, digital administrative system. We are bringing in a scrapping policy for 17-year-old vehicles. Pollution is an issue for us. People are being more aware and are cooperating."