Will Solid State Hydrogen Storage Bring the Breakthrough for the Energy of the Future?
Hydrogen Blended Natural Gas Under Development
Apart from using it as a chemical feedstock in industry, it can also be used as a clean fuel in automobile and also for power generation through internal combustion engines and fuel cells. In the field of hydrogen in internal combustion engines, R&D projects for using hydrogen blended compressed natural gas and diesel and development of hydrogen fuelled vehicles are being implemented in India.
Hydrogen fuelled motorcycles and three wheelers have been developed and demonstrated in the country. Catalytic combustion cookers using hydrogen as fuel have also been developed. The Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has modified commercially available motorcycles and three wheelers to operate on hydrogen as fuel.
First Hydrogen Fuel Stations Build in India
With a view to providing hydrogen blended compressed natural gas as an automotive fuel, a dispensing station for the same has been set up at Dwarka in New Delhi – with partial financial support from MNRE. This facility provides CNG fuel blended with hydrogen up to 20 per cent in volume in demonstration and test vehicles. A development cum demonstration project for use of H-CNG as fuel in select vehicles (buses, cars and three-wheelers) is also under implementation. Besides, hydrogen fuelled generator set is being developed by the BHU and IIT, Delhi.
Another application of hydrogen energy is the fuel cell, an electrochemical device converting chemical energy of hydrogen directly into electricity without combustion. It is a clean and efficient process of electricity generation. It can be used in UPS systems, replacing batteries and diesel generators.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells Could Bring a Change
In view of the relevance of fuel cells in automobiles and power generation, several organisations globally are pursuing RD&D activities in this field. Portable applications are also being developed. The present efforts in these fuel cells are focused on reducing its cost and improving its durability. The focus of the Fuel Cell programme of the MNRE has been on supporting RD&D activities on different types of fuel cells.