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Hydrogen-fuelled cars could be just 3 years away

ECO-FRIENDLY CAR: Reva's fuel - based prototype car that runs on hydrogen

ECO-FRIENDLY CAR: Reva's fuel - based prototype car that runs on hydrogen  

Anand Parthasarathy

BANGALORE: The Indian Oil Corporation has set itself a bold target in eco-friendly fuel development: In a joint initiative with India-based electric car pioneer, Reva, the public sector company's Faridabad-based research arm will create by 2008 the infrastructure and logistics to service 1,000 vehicles running on a hydrogen-based fuel cell.

The announcement here, timed for World Environment Day (June 5), will see Reva build two test cars, running on futuristic fuel cells which will pump out 5,000 watts of motive power by converting hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air, in a chemical reaction, to generate electric power.

The Bangalore-based `green' car maker unveiled a fuel-cell based car exactly a year ago, but Reva Deputy Chairman Chetan Maini clarifies that the new deliveries will be based on more efficient, second-generation fuel cells — fruits of a recent tie-up with the Canada-based Hydrogenics Corporation.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the formal announcement on Saturday, B.M. Bansal, IOC Director, R&D, said that without a fuel delivery mechanism for customers, hydrogen fuel cell cars, even if developed, could never take off. The IOC would test the problems associated with hydrogen storage and delivery and aim at making the fuel available `on tap' in test locations, starting with Delhi and Agra, much as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is available today in many metros.

``But whether hydrogen will be the chosen fuel is a government decision, since it involves higher costs," Mr. Bansal said.

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