India has expertise and skills to develop hydrogen energy technologies, says UNIDO DG

Dr. K. Yumkella Director General of UNIDO visited the first fleet in the world of hydrogen fuelled rickshaws complete with a hydrogen refueling station. The fleet is operating since Monday 9 January, 2012 at the Pragati Maidan Exhibition ground in New Delhi.

During his visit, the UNIDO DG said: “This fleet and refueling infrastructure is proof that hydrogen has a role to play not only in the developed world but also in developing economies like India, not only for high-end vehicles and buses but also in down-to-earth practical applications like the rickshaws. This is proof that India has the expertise and skills to develop, implement and assess hydrogen energy technologies in view of its Hydrogen Roadmap and the 2020 Green Initiative for Future Transport. It is also evidence that the UNIDO International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies in collaboration with UNIDO headquarters and UNIDO Regional Office can put flesh and bones in innovative energy concepts, in collaboration with local industry and academia. I am very pleased to visit this site and to see that the vehicles are used on a daily basis at the ITPO exhibition grounds, just like conventional vehicles, bar the zero emissions”.

The fleet of fifteen vehicles and the refueling station were established in the context of the DELHY-3W project that aimed to demonstrate hydrogen technologies developed by Indian partners for the Indian transport sector. The project took 3 years and cost slightly more than 1 million US$, with 0.5 million US$ of co-funding coming from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies (UNIDO-ICHET) based in Istanbul, Turkey, that also contributed in setting up and executing the project.

Project Consortium

IIT Delhi coordinated the project and provided technical expertise to convert the internal combustion engines to run on hydrogen. Mahindra and Mahindra developed the vehicle with all necessary changes to the engines, safety systems, fuel tanks and fuel lines. Air Products USA acted as project partner and sponsor by providing the hydrogen refueling station and management and technical services. UNIDO India regional office facilitated the realization of the project. India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) is hosting the project and helping disseminate Indian know-how. The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been closely following the project, while both the refueling facility & hydrogen storage tanks on vehicle have received all necessary permits and approvals from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO).

Why Hydrogen?

Hydrogen holds great promise for a cleaner urban environment by replacing polluting and diminishing fossil fuels with a fuel whose only emission is pure water and traces of NOx. If hydrogen is produced from renewable energy sources, then it is the cleanest fuel from well to wheel. Since hydrogen as a fuel and hydrogen energy technologies are new and applied in small numbers their cost is presently higher than conventional fuels and established energy technologies. However the possible inclusion of hydrogen in the portfolio of alternative transport fuels in a country with the size and dynamism of India could create the right market conditions for mass production of hydrogen vehicles and refueling infrastructure, leading to comparable costs and reduced urban pollution in cities like New Delhi and other Asian metropolis that might implement such technologies.

The developing world has the potential to play a major role in the transition to a hydrogen-inclusive energy future.


The UNIDO International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies is a UNIDO project supported by the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources through a $40M Trust Fund Agreement with UNIDO. Its mission is to support, demonstrate and promote viable hydrogen energy technologies with the aim of enhancing economic development particularly in developing countries.

ICHET has developed numerous demonstrators of hydrogen energy technologies ranging from forklifts to UPS systems to golf carts. It recently inaugurated its renewables-hydrogen facility on the island of Bozcaada and will inaugurate the first hydrogen production and refuelling facility in Turkey at the Golden Horn on September 2012. It has similarly supported Turkish universities and industry improve their expertise and come up with hydrogen energy related prototypes ranging from vehicles to boats, helping pave the way for Turkish industry in view of the coming hydrogen inclusive energy future.