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Hydrogen-CNG buses likely to hit Delhi roads from next month

Hydrogen-CNG buses likely to hit Delhi roads from next month


New Delhi:

Starting next month, buses running on Hydrogen-enriched CNG (HCNG) are likely to hit the capital’s roads. A four-tonne per day compact reformer-based HCNG production plant has come up at DTC’s Rajghat-1 bus depot and is likely to start operations from next month.

HCNG, which is a cleaner fuel compared to CNG, will be used to run 50 Cluster scheme buses as part of a pilot project for six months. The Supreme Court had last year suggested looking at hydrogen-run vehicles as a solution for NCR’s poor air quality and while the technology will take some time to appear in the capital, HCNG could be a step in that direction.

“The plant is ready and is awaiting approval from the Petroleum Explosive Safety Organisation, which comes under the Union ministry of commerce, and approves all gas stations and filling stations,” an official associated with the project said. “The buses that will be run on HCNG would just require some tuning and no major retrofitting,” he added.

In July, Indian Oil Corporation Limited — which has developed the technology to create HCNG — and Indraprastha Gas Limited had laid the foundation stone the plant. According to IOCL, the use of compact reforming process is 30% more cost effective as compared to the physical blending of Hydrogen with CNG.

It was, in fact, a directive of the apex court in July 2018 that led to IOCL and IGL collaborating to put up this first semi-commercial plant as a pilot project for conducting the study on the use of HCNG fuel in 50 BS-IV compliant CNG-run buses in Delhi.

Mixing hydrogen with CNG physically is a difficult proposition and that is why IOCL came up with the compact reforming process, which reforms CNG with no need for mixing. For the pilot project, 50 buses of the Anthony Road Transport Ltd (a cluster scheme concessionaire) will be fed with HCNG and their efficiency and emissions would be recorded for six months run and then submitted to the Supreme Court.

Four tonne of HCNG would be produced at the plant every day and the excess fuel generated would be used to run a generator, which would produce electricity.