NEW DHELI, 9 January 2012 - The world’s first fleet of hydrogen-fuelled 3-wheelers, or rickshaws, were launched in New Delhi today. The 15 vehicles will be refuelled from a station at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, where the fleet will be operating.
The USD 1 million project took three years to complete, with half of the costs co-funded by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies (UNIDO-ICHET) based in Istanbul, Turkey.
“The hydrogen-powered rickshaws and the refuelling station were established as part of the DELHY-3W project that aims to demonstrate hydrogen technologies developed by Indian partners for the Indian transport sector,” said UNIDO-ICHET Managing Director, Mustafa Hatipoğlu.
India’s Minister of New and Renewable Energy, Farooq Abdullah, welcomed the event, saying: “Hydrogen holds great promise for a cleaner urban environment. Hydrogen can replace polluting and diminishing fossil fuels with a fuel whose only emission is pure water. If hydrogen is produced from renewable energy sources, then it is the cleanest fuel from well to wheel.”
Minister Abdullah expressed hope that “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 India could create the right market conditions for mass production of hydrogen vehicles and refuelling infrastructure, leading to comparable costs and reduced urban pollution in cities like New Delhi as well as in other Asian metropolis that might implement such technologies”.
Minister Abdullah also said that the developing world had the potential to play a major role in the transition to a hydrogen-inclusive energy future.
The Indian Institute of Technology (IITD) was the DELHY-3W project co-ordinator, carrying out exhaustive lab tests on the vehicular engine under varying operating condition and providing the 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’s India regional Office facilitated the realization of the project.
India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) is hosting the project and helping disseminate the Indian know-how. The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has been closely following the project, while both the refuelling facility and hydrogen storage tanks on the vehicles have received all necessary permits and approvals from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO).
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