Indian Railways to operate trains on hydrogen fuel-based technology

Indian Railways in an effort to become an eco-friendly mode of transport has invited bids for its green fuel vertical Indian Railways Organization of Alternate Fuel (IROAF) for Hydrogen Fuel Cell-based Train on the rail network.

Under the flagship programs of the Government, ‘Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Batteries’ and ‘National Hydrogen Mission’, the goal of the Indian railways is to cut down the Green House Gas (GHG) emission under Paris Climate Agreement 2015 and ‘Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway’ by 2030.

In a media release the Ministry of Railways said, “There has been recent budgetary pronouncement to kick off the concept of Hydrogen Mobility in the Country. Accepting it as a challenge, The IROAF has invited the bids for Hydrogen Fuel Cell-based Train on Railways Network.

According to the ministry, the project shall commence in the 89 kilometres long stretch between Sonipat – Jind section, which falls under the Northern Railway zone.

Initially, two DEMU (diesel-electric multiple units) rakes will be converted and two-hybrid locomotives will be converted later, based on Hydrogen Fuel cell power movement.

No change will be there in the driving console. Also, the project is expected to save Rs 2.3 crore annually, the ministry mentioned.

The sanctioned work for the project involves two DEMU rakes, provision of fuel cell-powered Hybrid Traction System for train application.

An allocation of Rs 8 crore during the current financial year has been made towards the project.

The brief scope of work includes on-board equipment as per RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation) specification number and stationary hydrogen storage as well as filling station at the site as per RDSO specification number.   For the processing of the tender, two pre-bid meetings have been scheduled on 17 August 2021 and 9 September 2021. The submission of the offer will start from 21 September 2021 which will be followed by the date of opening the tender on 5 October.

Shampa Bahadur has been a business journalist for more than two decades. She has written for Business India, PTI Media TransAsia and India Infrastructure Publication Ltd among others. She has also written coffee table books. She can be reached at

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