Home / News / India /  Indian Railways invites bids for hydrogen fuel-based tech for trains

Indian Railways has invited bids to develop hydrogen fuel cell-based technology that can be used to upgrade existing diesel-powered trains. The project entails retrofitting Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) in 89 km Sonipat-Jind section.

"Indian Railways Organization of Alternate Fuel (IROAF), Green Fuel vertical of Indian Railways, has invited the bids for Hydrogen Fuel Cell based Train on Railways Network. The project shall commence in 89 km Sonipat-Jind section of Northern Railway," Ministry of Railways said in a statement.

The national transporter is trying to ascertain whether existing diesel trains can be retrofitted to use hydrogen instead.

"The retrofitting of diesel-powered DEMU and converting it into hydrogen fuel-powered train set will not only save the cost to the tune of 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 kilo tonnes per annum," Railway Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry noted that if the project succeeds, all the rolling stock that will operate on diesel fuel after electrification can be planned to run on hydrogen fuel.

Under the project, two DEMU rakes will be converted at first to use hydrogen as fuel. An allocation of 8 crore has been set aside for this phase in the current year. Later two hybrid narrow gauge locomotives will be retrofitted with hydrogen fuel cell power movement.

Using hydrogen will be a major step towards lowering pollution from trains as the gas is known to be the greenest transport fuel. Hydrogen can be generated easily by electrolysing the water from solar energy, the ministry stated.

Presently, very few countries are using this method. The trial of one rake is being done in Germany and the trial of the other in Poland, it said.

The bidding date for hydrogen fuel cell-based DEMU rake will start from September 21, 2021, and close on October 5, 2021. A pre-bid conference will be held on August 17.

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