There have been many advances in vehicle propulsion technology over the past decade. And technology has come forward by leaps and bounds. That said, the search for the perfect mobility solution might just be here. Okay! let me tell you, it isn’t any all-electric battery-powered vehicle but hydrogen propelled one. And to promote the same, India has launched a new ‘National Hydrogen Mission’.

Automotive fuels
Hydrogen Cars

Before moving forward, the National Hydrogen Mission is the venture where the Indian government will be investing in Hydrogen as a fuel. But why hydrogen? The reason for choosing Hydrogen as a fuel is that it is one of the elements that are in plenty on the planet. This makes India among the top contenders in the rally to hydrogenizing.

Hydrogen Cars
Hydrogen Cars

The mission was concreated as the budget had a proposal for the hydrogen mission, which will be drafted in the upcoming months. The National Hydrogen Mission is not specifically for one sector but majorly transportation. Well, this sector is the one that will be completely altered. Also, many companies across the globe have a prototype for cars running on Hydrogen (Fuel Cell). Example: Hyundai Nexo

Keeping that aside, here is everything we know about Hydrogen and its advancements in India and across the globe.

Advancements in India

Hydrogen enriched cng in india
Hydrogen enriched CNG in India

India is reaching new heights faster than we can think of.

  • Last year in October, the first lot of busses to run on H-CNG were in India’s capital. Making Delhi the first city in the country to run a vehicle with this hydrogen-rich CNG.
  • Additionally, Indian Oil Corp got the technology patented to produce H-CNG. Well, the H-CNG contains 18% more hydrogen than conventional CNG.
  • Moreover, the NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation Limited) is currently handling an operation that runs 10 electric busses running on hydrogen fuel cell in Delhi and Leh.
  • The Thermal Power Corporation is also planning to set up a hydrogen-producing facility in Andra Pradesh. Besides, this operation will be green, meaning? The production of Hydrogen will do none to less harm to the environment.
  • Another positive approach is that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has informed to make changes in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules.
  • This is to set new standards for the hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles coming in the future.

More on H-CNG

But why Hydrogen?

Hydrogen as Fuel
Hydrogen as Fuel | Image Source (1)

The answer to this question lies in the aftermath of the cars running on internal combustion engines and plug-in electric vehicles.

  • We all can agree on the fact that EVs or electric vehicles directly do not contaminate the environment.
  • Keeping this in mind many people in the country have shifted to an EV or have their primary vehicle as an EV.
  • But are the EVs really non-pollution? Well, the answer to this is not quite literally. Considering the first-hand pollution, sure! they do not pollute.
  • But, we have to consider the fact that vehicles like Tata Nexon EV run on electricity. This is where the problem emerges.
  • About 60% of the power in India is generated via thermal powerplants. This translates to air pollution, and a lot of it. After all, EVs are not that environment friendly.
  • Okay! we haven’t taken another factor into account, which is the mining of lithium. To begin with, this is not easy at all and it also pollutes the environment. More on that some other day.

Hence Hydrogen is clean, it is in abundance and hydrogen also has myriad uses in almost all the fields.

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How do Will Vehicles run on Hydrogen?

Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Hydrogen Fuel Cell | Image Source (1)

To run a vehicle on hydrogen a cell is required that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. The machine or the cell that does the magic is called a hydrogen fuel cell.

A fuel cell is just like a conventional cell or a battery that does not require charging at all.

The cell produced electricity and heat as look as the fuel is provided. In this case, it is hydrogen.

Fuel Cell Components and Working
Fossil Fuels: The Inevitable Demise
Fossil Fuels: The Inevitable Demise | The Basic Hydrogen Cell Working | Image Source (1)

Like a battery, a fuel cell consists of two electrodes.

  • An anode which is the negative electrode and a cathode which is the positive electrode.
  • Between the two electrodes is an electrolyte.
  • For the cell to work, fuel (hydrogen) is fed to the anode and air is supplied to the cathode.
  • Now, a catalyst (that helps to accelerate the reaction) is present at the anode. This is what separates the protons and electrons from the hydrogen molecule.
  • Both, the protons and the electrons take different routes to the cathode to complete the circuit.
  • Electrons are the ones that go via the external circuit generating a flow of electricity in the system.
  • On the other hand, the protons take the path through the electrolyte and reach the cathode.
  • Now, at this point, the oxygen combines with the electrons and produce heat and water (H2O).

This energy can be utilized in various ways like to power a motor to run a vehicle. Hence a clean form of energy produces clean energy.

Informative: hydrogen-enriched CNG – Transport Ministry Invites Suggestion

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Also, Read The Hydrogen Car | A Future In Peril?

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