What are the New Evaluation Standards for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles?

The Central Government  has notified the standards for safety evaluation for hydrogen fuel-cell based vehicles on September 24, 2020. Notification was issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and notified that the Standards for safety evaluation of vehicles being propelled by the Hydrogen Fuel Cells. This has been done by bringing an amendment to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.

Standards for safety evaluation

  1. As per the new rules, vehicles under Category M (those running the passengers) and N (those carrying goods) are running on compressed hydrogen gas fuel cell has to be in accordance with AIS 157:2020. This shall be followed till notifications are released under the BIS Standard Act, 2016.
  2. The rule says that the Hydrogen Fuel Cells shall be developed in accordance with ISO 14687.

Objective

The new rules are aimed at promoting environment-friendly and energy-efficient hydrogen fuel cell-based vehicles across the country.

Background

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles Project

National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) had announced a new project involving Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles to run in Leh and Delhi in April 2020. Under the project, NTPC will provide ten Hydrogen Fuel Cell based buses. This is first of its kind project in India.

Benefits of Hydrogen Fuel Cells

  1. They produces lesser Green house gases.
  2. They emits heat and water as by product.
  3. They are more energy efficient as compared to the traditional combustion engine.
  4. There is abundant of hydrogen resources.

Concerns

  1. Handling of Hydrogen is quite challenging since it is more explosive than petrol.
  2. It is expensive than the traditional fossil fuels.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has also been supporting several projects on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. While the challenge of storing the Hydrogen is being taken by Ministry of Science and Technology.