India’s first Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) car prototype produced by The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and KPIT has successfully completed its trials. The comes equipped with an indigenously developed a low-temperature PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) type fuel cell. Its fuel pack claims to have the range of around 250 km in a single charge. The car is expected to be used for commercial purposes.

Fuel Cell Stack

10kWe automotive-grade LT-PEMFC fuel cell stack unit is jointly developed by KPIT and CSIR. It leverages very thin metal bipolar plates to reduce the stack weight by up to 66 percent and operates efficiently at 65-75 degree; suitable for any vehicular application.

How it works?

Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) technology works on chemical reactions between oxygen and hydrogen to generate electrical energy. The fuel cell tech only emits water as the residue; hence cutting down on emission of pollutants and harmful gases completely.

This technology is already used by carmakers like Toyota in the international car market and other manufacturers are also developing hydrogen-powered car models for different markets globally. However, India will have to wait for a longer period of time before the technology is reliably adopted and required infrastructure is developed.

Test Car

Trials are being conducted on battery-electric passenger vehicle platform retrofitted with hydrogen fuel cell stack along with Type 3 commercial hydrogen tank. It has the capacity of 1.75 kg approx at around 350 bar pressure. The fuel tank is expected to last up to 250 km at speed of around 60 to 65 kph.

The powertrain and fuel stack were retrofitted in the standard 5-seater sedan car. The developed technology is likely to be more suitable for commercial operations as the battery pack requires lesser space for longer ranges in comparison to lithium-ion powered batteries. Hence, it is a more promising technology for commercial vehicles.