ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair said the organisation, which had the expertise in liquid hydrogen handling used in the indigenous development of cryogenic engines, has tied up with the Tatas for manufacture of the eco-friendly vehicle. In a chat with agency reporters here, Mr Nair said ISRO had finalised the design of the engine. ''The first proto model is ready. Tatas would take care of the automotive part of the project and the first vehicle may hit the roads next year,'' he said.
ISRO is known for championing the use of space technology for the general good of the people of India and telemedicine had been a big success using its satellites. This has helped authorities take best medical care to the remotest corners of the country, and now comes the liquid hydrogen technology to be adopted for automotive vehicles.
ISRO, in its determined bid to develop a cryogenic engine of India's own after being denied the technology, is in the final phase of putting to use the ultra powerful rocket engines. It has already conducted ground tests. ''The first cryogenic engine will take to flight in the first quarter of 2009,'' he Nair said.
According to project head V Gnana Gandhi, who is a Honorary Advisor to ISRO, the system works when hydrogen is fed to the fuel cells which produce 80 kw of electric power enabling driving of even a loaded bus.
''We are planning to drive a bus, a CNG-type bus, using hydrogen in eight bottles at high pressure stored at the top of the vehicle.
Every night you can replace,'' he said.
He said the cost of running hydrogen-fuel powered bus would be higher than the conventional vehicles run on diesel. It was environmental-friendly and zero-pollution vehicle. This would go a long way in reducing vehicular pollution in cities and enable India to earn carbon credits.