Sentient Labs, a research and development innovation lab, demonstrated India’s first indigenously developed hydrogen fuel cell bus in Pune on Wednesday.

The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology has been developed in collaboration with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, National Chemical Laboratory and Central Electrochemical Research Institute.

“Sentient Labs’ vision is to build technology solutions for sustainable mobility with an emphasis on hydrogen-powered technologies. It has identified bottlenecks in battery technology, fuel cell technologies and technologies for hydrogen generation,” the press statement issued by the Sentient stated.

Recently, Sentient had announced the world’s first technology that generates hydrogen directly from agricultural residue for use in fuel cell-powered vehicles. This technology adds to the line-up of efforts around sustainable mobility.

Other components

In addition to the hydrogen fuel cell technology, Sentient Labs also indigenously designed and developed other key components such as balance of plant, powertrain and battery pack. All of these components have been deployed on a 9-metre, 32-seater, air-conditioned bus. This is designed to provide a range of 450 km while utilising 30 kg of hydrogen. Modular architecture allows for changes in the design to suit requirements of range and operating conditions.

The fuel cell utilises hydrogen and air to generate electricity to power the bus. The only effluent from the bus is water, therefore making it possibly the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation. For comparison, a single diesel bus plying on long distance routes typically emits 100 tons of CO2 annually and there are over a million such buses in India.

Alternative revenue source

While hydrogen generation technology can provide an alternative source of revenue to farmers, replacing diesel buses with hydrogen fuel cell buses will improve air quality drastically and also reduce oil import costs.

Ravi Pandit, Chairman of Sentient Labs, said in a statement, “This will go a long way in powering Hydrogen Mission, AatmaNirbhar Bharat and importantly sustainable mobility. We envision that the solution will see widespread adoption powered by several partnerships. Our efforts will also be pivotal in enabling vehicle makers and suppliers to build a net-zero carbon path in India.”

Raghunath Mashelkar, Member of Board of Directors, Sentient Labs, said: “World over, efforts related to green hydrogen revolution are on, but Sentient Labs stands out. At Sentient, challenges that are core to India are understood, and solutions are developed. Digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonisation is what India needs for sustainable mobility and these innovations from Sentient will go a long way.”