NTPC Floats Tender for Hydrogen Fuel Cell-Based Pilot Projects

India’s leading power generator NTPC has issued an expression of interest (EoI), inviting bids for hydrogen fuel cell-based pilot projects.

The last date for submission of bids is July 10, 2021. The bids will be opened on July 10.

NTPC wants to explore the feasibility of replacing diesel generators with hydrogen-based fuel cell electrolyzer systems in these applications and subsequently create products and solutions that are an alternative to diesel generators.

NTPC has plans to set up a standalone fuel cell-based backup power system and microgrid with hydrogen production using electrolyzer. The two separate pilot projects will be located at NTPC premises in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, and its guest house in Simhadri, near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.


NTPC intends to replace around 500 kW–1,000 kW of backup diesel generators at its offices in Noida with an electrolyzer fuel cell-based system. The system would act as a backup power source during power outages. The hydrogen has to be generated using a suitable sized electrolyzer placed at its premises in Noida.

Similarly, NTPC intends to set up a 50 kW electrolyzer fuel cell-based microgrid system at one of its guest houses in Simhadri, Visakhapatnam, as the second pilot project. The electrolyzer will run during the day, produce enough hydrogen, and then provide electricity through the fuel cell at night.

The intellectual property generated from the pilot projects – a first of its kind in India – will be co-owned by NTPC and the applicant. The same may be monetized separately during the commercialization of the technologies.

Applicants are expected to arrange the agreed capital contribution for the procuring, installation, and commissioning of the system. Interested parties will also have to select technology for fuel cell and electrolyzer and design the system that best fits the intended use cases. Engineering, supply of all parts of the systems, erection, testing, and commissioning of the system, and integration to the existing electrical system will also have to be done by the winning bidder. Successful bidders will have to carry out routine maintenance of the systems for three years from the date of commissioning of the project. Additionally, data collection and analyzing system performance during testing and subsequent operation will also have to be carried out by the successful bidder.

The proposals will be evaluated based on the applicant’s expertise, credentials, technology, timelines, equipment cost, technical support, etc. One key criterion would be the cash equivalent support (funding/equipment/service) provided upfront by the applicant.

If the bidder proposes to bring financial support or grant from third-party agencies or government institutions, either in India or abroad, then the responsibility of arranging such funding support or grant would fall on the bidder. NTPC would not participate in any agreement between the bidder and the funding agency and bear no obligations to that end.

To prove their technical eligibility, applicants must provide the relevant product or system catalogs, experience or reference list, copies of customer certificates, engineering strengths, collaborations or tie-ups with the manufacturer (if applicable), quality accreditations, etc.

For financial eligibility, participating bidders must provide copies of audited financial statements (annual reports) for the last three years, credit ratings, market share (domestic and international), and segmental revenue in the applied category or categories.

In January this year, the Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuels under the Indian Railways had invited bids to develop a hydrogen fuel cell-based hybrid power train for retrofitting the 700 HP diesel-hydraulic locomotives running on the Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge section in Himachal Pradesh.

Last month, the Delhi High Court had directed the Government of India to consider including hydrogen fuel cell-based electric vehicles and hydrogen refueling stations under the ambit of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) program.

According to the latest study by Global Market Insights published in April this year, the global hydrogen market revenue is expected to surpass $300 billion by 2027. Increasing focus toward clean energy in the emerging economies coupled with rising utilization of hydrogen in new application areas comprising metal refining, power generation, and heating for buildings will positively enhance the industry outlook.

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