A compilation of ongoing research activities in the country related to hydrogen being carried out by several scientists, industry, utilities, and other stakeholders from R&D laboratories and academia was launched by Secretary, Department of Science and Technology Professor Ashutosh Sharma recently.

The compilation titled India Country Status Report on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells was an outcome of a brainstorming discussions and presentations on various issues for developing programmes and strategies to accelerate the ushering in of hydrogen economy as part of India’s commitment as a participating country in Mission Innovation Renewable and Clean Hydrogen Challenge

Greater utilization of renewable in our energy mix is our policy objective to achieve decarbonization. While there are several pathways for decarbonisation varying in time frames, Hydrogen produced from renewables is considered as the cleanest energy source. 

Hydrogen as an energy source will play a key role in transforming climate-neutral systems over the next few decades.Hydrogen has high energy content per unit mass, which is three times higher than gasoline. Hydrogen is being used for energy applications with suitable fuel cells. However, in order to make renewable hydrogen a viable option, several key challenges related to materials, including new material development, electrolytes, storage, safety, and standards, need to be addressed. Since hydrogen technologies can help to reduce global warming, further acceleration of efforts is critical to ensuring a significant share of hydrogen in the energy system in the coming decades.

Two key developments have contributed to the growth of hydrogen in recent years-- the cost of hydrogen supply from renewables has come down and continues to fall, while the urgency of greenhouse gas emission mitigation has increased, and many countries have begun to take action to decarbonise their economies.

Hydrogen can help tackle various critical energy challenges, decarbonize a range of sectors including intensive and long-haul transport, chemicals, and iron and steel, where it is proving difficult to meaningfully reduce emissions and also help improve air quality and strengthen energy security. In addition, it increases flexibility in power systems. It is one of the best options for storing energy from renewables and looks poised to become the lowest-cost option for storing large quantities of electricity over days, weeks, or even months.

Currently, there are around 11,200 hydrogen powered cars, 20,000 forklifts operating on hydrogen, 381 hydrogen refuelling stations worldwide, said the report.

The report further said -- Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources have supported many demonstration projects through Indian Oil Corporation and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. The first demonstration project was for setting up a dispensing station by the Indian Oil Corporation. The dispensing station at their R&D centre Faridabad, has been commissioned during 2008-09 and has an electrolyser with 5 Nm3/hr hydrogen production capacity (about 11 kg/day). Hydrogen produced from the electrolyser is being blended with CNG for use in demonstration and test vehicles. The project is dedicated to acquire working experience in handling hydrogen for use in
vehicles and also provide field performance feed back on hydrogen-CNG blends as a fuel in automobiles.

The other demonstration project is being implemented by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) in association with five automobile manufacturers (Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Eicher Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra and Bajaj Auto) and Indian Oil Corporation
was towards demonstrating the use of hydrogen blend with CNG in automobiles.

Hydrogen fuelled 3-wheeler developed jointly by IIT Delhi and Mahindra & Mahindra in New Delhi

In major activities in hydrogen utilisation other than for fuel cell based applications, The report describe one of the project at IIT Delhi, where the institute is working on Mission mode project on development and demonstration of hydrogen fuelled internal combustion engines for vehicles, multi cylinder IC engine introduced into Mahindra’s tourist or model mini bus, three wheelers based on hydrogen with Mahindra and Mahindra, Development & demonstration of hydrogen fuelled multicylinder spark ignition engine generator set for stationary power generation. Demonstration and field trials of hydrogen fuelled three wheelers conducted in New Delhi. 

Detailed report here(PDF).

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