Delhi to soon start trial of hydrogen-run
The Supreme Court has suggested looking into hydrogenrun vehicles as a solution for NCR’s poor air quality and while the technology will take some time to appear in the capital, buses running on hydrogen-enriched CNG (HCNG) are going to hit the city’s roads very soon. As part of a pilot project, 50 buses of the cluster scheme will be run using HCNG, which is much cleaner as compared to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). “A four-tonne per day compact reformer-based HCNG production plant at Rajghat-1 bus depot of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is going to be commissioned next month and trial run of HCNG-run buses would start soon,” an official said. In July, Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), which developed the technology to create HCNG, and Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) laid the foundation stone of the plant. Compared to physical blending of hydrogen with CNG, the use of compact reforming process is 30% more cost effective, according to IOCL. For using HCNG, separate buses are not required and the present CNG-run buses can be easily used with a little tuning. “We are aiming to commission the plant by December, subject to statutory clearances,” an IGL spokesperson said. After the commissioning, buses will be operated using HCNG on a trial-run for six months, the official added. It was, in fact, a directive of SC in July 2018 had led to IOCL and IGL collaborating to put up the 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 and the need for mixing is eliminated. For the pilot project, around 50 buses of Anthony Road Transport Limited (a cluster scheme concessionaire) will be fed with HCNG and their efficiency and emissions will be recorded during the six-month trial run and then submitted to the Supreme Court. Four tonne of hydrogen-enriched CNG will be produced at the plant daily and the excess fuel generated will be used to run generators, which will produce electricity. To begin with, it is likely that HCNG might cost a few paise more than CNG per unit but once production is scaled up, the costs are expected to come down.