In a significant step for automobile research & development (R&D) in the country, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and automobile major Tata Motors have developed a hydrogen-powered bus. The bus is currently in trial stages as the company looks to reach a viable market proposition.

The Tata Starbus – Fuel Cell is a compressed natural gas (CNG) type of bus using hydrogen bottles as fuel. These are stored on top of the bus.

“This environment-friendly bus is ideal for stop and go applications and is built on rear module low entry platform, equipped with a ramp facility, pneumatic door operations, and climate control features. The fuel cell technology makes this bus completely clean and silent on-road,” a Tata Motors spokesperson said, in response to queries.

The vehicle has been developed following several years of research as Tata Motors had entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2006 with ISRO to design and develop such a product.

Accordingly, Tata Motors had set up a fuel cell power system test laboratory in Bangalore and later at ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu.

Tata Motors started its innovation with CNG products and moved on to series and parallel CNG-electric hybrid buses.

City solution

The Tata Starbus – Fuel Cell is a zero emission transport solution for commuting within the city. “The bus is currently in trial stages before it reaches a viable market proposition, supported by the necessary support infrastructure,” the spokesperson said, adding, “Tata Motors remains committed towards working with non-conventional alternate energy sources for more efficient modes of public transportation. We continue to work closely with the government and various key stakeholders towards options for emerging technologies.”

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