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The Indian Army has taken a significant step towards sustainable transport solutions by partnering with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) to test Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus technology. This collaboration underscores the Army’s commitment to environmental stewardship and innovation.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of General Manoj Pande, Chief of the Army Staff, and Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, Chairman of Indian Oil. The agreement marks the beginning of a strategic partnership aimed at advancing green mobility solutions within the Indian Army. The first Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus was handed over to the Army, symbolizing the launch of this eco-friendly initiative.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology offers a clean and efficient energy alternative by converting hydrogen gas into electricity through an electrochemical process, producing only water vapor as a by-product. The buses have a seating capacity for 37 passengers and can travel 250-300 kilometers on a full 30 kg hydrogen tank, making them a viable option for sustainable mass transport.

On March 21, 2023, the Indian Army set a precedent by becoming the first government entity to sign an MoU with NTPC Renewable Energy Limited to install green hydrogen microgrid power plants along the Northern borders. A pilot project at Chushul will provide continuous clean electricity to troops stationed in challenging terrains using a 200-kilo green hydrogen-based microgrid.

This initiative with IOCL is a crucial part of India’s broader strategy to integrate hydrogen as a key energy resource. IOCL has been actively working towards this goal, having built India’s first green hydrogen plant at its Mathura refinery. The Indian government’s commitment to hydrogen as a clean energy source is further evidenced by partnerships with private sector giants like Tata Motors, which delivered the first Hydrogen Fuel Cell buses to IOCL. These buses were developed at Tata Motors’ R&D centre in Pune and feature state-of-the-art technology, including a 70 kW fuel cell stack and advanced safety and telematics systems.

The collaboration between the Indian Army and IOCL represents a forward-thinking approach to environmental responsibility and technological innovation. By pioneering the use of hydrogen fuel cells, the Indian Army is setting a benchmark for sustainable practices in the defense sector and beyond.

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