The two retrofitted diesel-electric commuter trains will integrate 8 units of 100 kW FCmoveTM-HD+, Ballard’s latest fuel cell technology, which offers improved efficiency and power density than previous module generations.

The contract to provide the hydrogen-powered trains was awarded to Medha as a first step in Indian Railways’ path to achieve their net zero ambitions. The fuel cell modules are expected to be shipped in 2023, with trains scheduled to go into service in 2024, with potential for additional retrofits following the initial deployment.

Indian Railways estimate their investment in the hydrogen fuel cell project to have a payback of less than two years as the cost of hydrogen is now less than diesel.

These conversions are not only expected to be more economic than their diesel counterpart, but also reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by over 11MT and eliminate nearly a metric tonne particulate matter per year.

Kasyap Reddy, Managing Director of Medha Servo Drives, said, “Rail transportation is a critical piece of infrastructure across India and we are proud to be taking the first steps to decarbonise this facet of our economy.”

David Mucciacciaro, Ballard Chief Commercial Officer, said its progress in decarbonising the rail market is just beginning, and it continues to work with leading rolling stock manufacturers, integrators and operators. Last year Ballard claimed its fuel cell technology prevented ~52m gallons of consumed diesel.

He said, “This announcement with Medha exemplifies the growing need and progress being made to decarbonise global mobility.”

Mircea Gradu was recently appointed Chief Engineering Officer, bringing with him over 25 years’ experience in the automotive and commercial vehicle industry.

Indian Railways’ green fuel vertical Indian Railways Organisation of Alternate Fuel (IROAF) launched bids for the development of hydrogen fuel cell-based train on Indian Railways network last summer. IROAF has initially invited bids for an 89km Sonipat-Jind section of Northern Railway, according to reports.

India’s National Hydrogen Mission, launched last year, aims to scale up green hydrogen and its use across multiple sectors, particularly transport. The India government allocated $32.7bn capital investment for rail in this year’s national budget.

The recent H2 View India Hydrogen Snap Summit discussed how hydrogen can be fast-tracked in the country, and considered hydrogen’s role in clean mobility.

Read more:  India can leverage on renewables, ammonia and cost competitiveness to fast track hydrogen

Read more:  Developing India’s hydrogen infrastructure is an “activity for decades”