Indian Railways is exploring the feasibility of retrofitting the trains (that are presently run on diesel) with hydrogen fuel cell-based technology. Indian Railways Organization of Alternate Fuel (IROAF), Green Fuel vertical of IR, has invited the bids for this demonstrative project in 89km Sonipat-Jind section of Northern Railway. This initiative is part of the National Hydrogen Energy Mission, to launch and promote the concept of Hydrogen Mobility in India. Rs.8 crore has been allocated for the project in 2021-22.
Initially, two DEMU rakes will be converted, and later two-hybrid narrow gauge locos will be converted based on hydrogen fuel cell power movement. After conversion, the train will run on hydrogen fuel, the greenest mode of transport as hydrogen can be generated by electrolysing the water from solar energy. The retrofitting of diesel-powered Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) and converting it into hydrogen fuel-powered train set will not only save the cost to the tune of Rs 2.3 crore annually by converting from diesel to hydrogen, but also save the carbon footprint (NO2) of 11.12-kilo tons per annum and particulate matter of 0.72-kilotonnes per annum.
The bidding date for hydrogen fuel cell-based DEMU rake will start on September 21, 2021, and the closing date will be October 5, 2021.
Hydrogen fuel cell-based technology is part of“Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Batteries” and “National Hydrogen Mission”, the two flagship programs of the Government of India to meet out the targets of reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emission under Paris Climate Agreement 2015 and “Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway” by 2030.