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KPIT’s Sentient Labs launches indigenously-developed hydrogen fuel cell bus

KPIT Technologies-incubated R&D innovation start-up, Sentient Labs, has demonstrated a locally-developed hydrogen fuel cell propulsion technology for buses. The 32-seater, 9-meter air-conditioned zero-emission bus, powered by fuel-cell powertrain and battery pack components completely designed and developed in India, was launched at an exclusive event in Pune today.

The latest fuel-cell bus is part of KPIT Technology's larger plan for hydrogen fuel cell technology development in the country, which is working closely with CSIR-NCL and CSIR-CECRI to develop indigenous hydrogen mobility solutions using automotive-grade PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cell technology since 2016. In October, the company ran trials of India's first fuel-cell prototype car equipped with made-in-India fuel cell stacks.

Ravi Pandit, chairman & co-founder of KPIT Technologies, said, "We are proud to launch an indigenously developed hydrogen fuel cell power bus. A strong technical team along with CSIR-NCL worked on several technology components. 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", he added. The company also claims to have developed a pioneering technology that generates hydrogen directly from agricultural residue for use in FCVs.

KPIT has brought in their expertise in stack engineering which included light-weight metal bipolar plate and gasket design, development of the balance of plant (BoP), system integration, control software, and electric powertrain that enabled running the fuel cell vehicle. The fuel cell stack uses extremely thin metal bipolar plates, thus reducing the stack weight by about two-thirds.

Further, modular architecture and design of the fuel-cell system can suit any given requirements of the range and operating conditions, the company says. The hydrogen bus can run for about 450 km with 30 kgs of hydrogen stored in fuel tanks.

"The tremendous hard work of our excellent team along with CSIR-NCL has enabled our hydrogen mission towards our 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'. At Sentient our vision is to build technology solutions for sustainable mobility. We are glad to set out on the journey today of made in India, by India, for the world", added Mr. Pandit, who is also the chairman of Sentient Labs.

Sentient Labs is looking for partnering with automakers and Tier1 suppliers to bring this indigenous fuel cell technology to market for large-scale adoption.

Author : Dhiyanesh Ravichandran
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