New Delhi: The government should give subsidies for development of hydrogen fuel to meet the target of a million vehicles driven by the gas by 2020, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said on 4 June 2007.
“The cost of developing hydrogen fuel are high but it can be negated if government can subsidise. However, we need to decide if subsidies should be given on existing applications to increase scale or on research,” he said at a CII conclave.
He said hydrogen technology was not economic at present and unless subsidised, the fuel would not to be commercially viable.
“If we recognise that it is a potential resource there is no harm in using subsidies to jump start it but....it is unlikely to become a plausible solution in energy security if it continued to be subsidised perpetually,” Ahluwalia added.
He said one of the ways could be to leverage on existing research and devise a business model was required for successful commercialisation of hydrogen fuel technology.
On the occasion, Minister for New and Renewable Energy Vilas Muttemwar said the National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap had proposed two major initiatives to develop hydrogen-powered engines and fuel cells-based automobiles from two and three-wheelers to heavy vehicles.
“The road map envisages that by 2020 about one million hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, of which about 75% are expected to be two or three-wheeleers and the rest cars, taxis and buses would be plying on Indian roads,“ Muttemwar said.
Exuding optimism on the viability of hydrogen fuel, Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata, who chaired the Steering Committee of National Hydrogen Energy Board, said though the technology remained elusive and posed problems in generating, storing and delivery but the “challenges are not insurmountable”.
“India has the strength, both technical and scientific to play a role among the developed countries,” he said.
Tata said Tata Motors was taking part in a major way for the development alternate fuels in the country.
“We use vehicles run on biofuel for our employees in our campuses. We are also developing vehicles which are flexi-fuel,” he said, adding in future all petrol vehicles from Tata Motors could also have the capability to run on ethanol blended petrol.