NTPC Ltd on Sunday said it has invited global expression of interest (EoI) to provide Hydrogen Fuel Cell (FC) based electric buses and Hydrogen Fuel Cell based electric cars in Leh and Delhi.
In February this year, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and state-run power corp NTPC agreed to jointly launch a project to promote emission-free buses in Leh.
This will be the first time such a project will be undertaken in India, wherein a complete solution from green energy to fuel cell vehicle would be developed.
The initiative, which has been undertaken with the support of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, will also harness renewable energy for the generation of hydrogen and develop its storage and dispensation facilities as part of pilot projects at Leh and Delhi.
NTPC has been taking various technology initiatives to provide complete e-mobility solution for public transport, including creation of public charging infrastructure and providing electric buses to state/city transport undertakings.
In this regard, 90 public charging stations in various cities and battery charging and swapping station at Faridabad for electric 3-wheelers have already been commissioned. Similarly, e-bus solution for Andaman & Nicobar Administration is under implementation
Hydrogen is one of the cleanest fuels, which on being burnt in air produces only water as a by-product and no carbon-based emissions are released, thereby leading to zero vehicular emissions.
Hydrogen can be produced from fossil fuels like natural gas, or from renewable resources such as water. Hydrogen production technologies in commercial use today are catalytic steam reforming of natural gas, naphtha and other hydrocarbons, partial oxidation of hydrocarbons, gasification of coal and electrolysis of water .However, experts say that the production of hydrogen from fossil fuel does lead to emissions and thus sets off the benefits of it being a clean fuel.
Hydrogen has a high energy density as compared to other fuels, thus it produces more energy in lesser weight due to which it can prove to be a viable option for heavy vehicles covering long routes in the future. The refuelling time required for hydrogen is also lesser when compared to electric vehicles and vehicles running on conventional fuels.
How can it be Used?
Hydrogen can be used as an automotive fuel through both fuel cells and internal combustion engines. Although, the fuel cell systems are proven to be more efficient than internal combustion engines, they require more development in terms of infrastructure.
How can it be transported?
Hydrogen can be transported through compressed gas tanks, pipelines, and cryogenic liquid hydrogen trucks. The transportation of compressed hydrogen through tube trailers requires high operation and maintenance costs.
Liquefying hydrogen is costlier than compressing hydrogen, however, cryogenic liquid trucks can deliver more volume of hydrogen than compressed trailers thus reducing the costs.
Supplying hydrogen through pipelines has been found to be cheaper than the other available modes of delivery. It is essential to exercise caution during the storage, transport, and delivery of hydrogen as it is flammable in nature and has low ignition trigger. Hydrogen is also light in weight which increases the chances of its leakage. The compliance of safety standards and guidelines, thus, is imperative while dealing with hydrogen..
Advantages of Hydrogen Fuel :
1. It is readily available.
2. It doesn’t produce harmful emissions and is environmentally friendly.-When hydrogen is used to power a fuel cell, the only byproducts are water and heat—no pollutants or greenhouse gases are produced. Even when fossil fuels are used to power a fuel cell the emissions are significantly reduced when compared with conventional fossil fueled generation technologies
3. It can be used as fuel in rockets.
4. It is fuel efficient.Hydrogen-powered fuel cells have two or three times the efficiency of traditional combustion technologies. For example, a conventional combustion-based power plant usually generates electricity between 33 to 35 percent efficiency. Hydrogen fuel cells are capable of generating electricity of up to 65 percent efficiency.
5.Energy StorageHydrogen is an energy storage medium. Energy, stored as hydrogen in the form of a gas or a liquid, will never dissipate until it is used, making it a good application for emergency generators and other mission critical energy applications. Compare that to other energy storage types like batteries and capacitors which lose the energy stored in them over time and need to be periodically recharged even without use.
6. It is renewable.
7.Hydrogen energy is non-toxic
This means that it does not cause any harm or destruction to human health. This aspect makes it preferred compared to other sources of fuel like nuclear energy, natural gas, which are extremely hazardous or daunting to harness safely. It also allows hydrogen to be used in places where other forms of fuel may not be allowed
Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cells
1. It is expensive.
2. It is difficult to store and Hydrogen is very hard to move around
3. It is not easy to replace exiting infrastructure.
4. It is highly flammable.
5. It is dependent on fossil fuels and other non-renewable sources such as coal, oil and natural gas are needed to separate it from oxygen.