July 09, 2019

Supreme Court Directs IOC To Complete Its Pilot Project To Examine If Cleaner HCNG Could Be Used To Fuel Vehicles

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The Supreme Court directed state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) recently to complete a pilot project to examine if hydrogen-enriched CNG (HCNG) could be used in vehicles to facilitate a quicker switch to the cleaner fuel.

After a study indicated that the use of HCNG could help reduce vehicle emissions by at least 70%, the court pushed for a shorter window for an intermediate switch to HCNG until hydrogen becomes a cost-effective option.

In this connection, it may be recalled that the environment bench had taken note of reports by the Environment Protection and Conservation Authority (EPCA) that it would be possible to make the switch to HCNG at least in Delhi by February 2020.

Trial runs are scheduled to begin from August 2019, the EPCA's 86th report had said while the bench suggested that the pilot project should be completed in two months so that a switch to HCNG could be made in six months.

The EPCA counsel Aparajita Singh said the IOC pilot project is already underway, as per the court's earlier order, adding that it may take four months to complete it and that HCNG could be introduced at existing (Compressed Natural Gas) CNG depots in six months.

Incidentally, HCNG and hydrogen mark a break from polluting fossil fuels. They are also cleaner and more cost-effective than CNG. HCNG would cost 0.75 per km, the EPCA had suggested in its report.

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