Nov 22, 2007

TATA Motors building Hydrogen Vehicle

If everything goes according to plan, athletes at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi will be travelling from the games venue to the games village and back on pollution-free hydrogen buses. Work on the country’s first such green initiative by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and Tata Motors has already started and the prototype is expected to be ready by December 2008.

The bus will not run on an engine but on electric power produced from a mix of hydrogen and oxygen. It will use hydrogen fuel cell technology as against combustion technology which burns gasoline. The bus will emit nothing but a cloud of water vapour. Tatas were enamoured by French inventor Guy Negre’s air-powered technology for car engines and were keen on bringing it to India.


The vehicles will be introduced at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi The buses will emit water vapour and not noxious gases Hydrogen will eliminate use of carbon-based fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions; Will be alternative to petroleum.

Hydro-bus will cost Rs 80 lakh

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and Tata Motors are planning to roll out India’s first truly eco-friendly vehicle, fuelled by hydrogen and leaving behind only a stream of water vapour, by December 2008.

Tata Motors will get the frame and chassis ready while Isro will provide the fuel technology. The first bus will be a 60-seater proto-model. Based on its performance, modified versions will be built later on, Isro chairman G Madhavan Nair told reporters on the sidelines of the 14th session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum that opened on Thursday at the ISRO headquarters here.

The bus will cost about Rs 80 lakh with the hydrogen gas that will run it costing about Rs 120 per kg or more. A 40 kg cylinder will allow the bus to run 560 km—the equivalent of an entire day’s running for a typical metro bus. “In the short run it may be costly, but in the long run when we are on the verge of hydrocarbon extinction, people will be willing to pay anything. We are working on a bus now because that will be more economical than a car as it will hold 60 people.

“In Phase II, we will come out with a car with a lower cost of hydrogen gas. The technological challenge of conversion of gas to electricity is immediate for Isro now,’’ architect of the bus V Vnanagandhi, programme director, SAC, Isro, Ahmedabad.

Nair said hydrogen fuel cell technology was the future for automobiles. “How much ever we try with conventional engines, we are unable to control pollution, but this technology will help do that.’’