India Might Be Missing The Hydrogen Fuel Bus By Insisting On All Electric Vehicles By 2030

Hydrogen 1

New Delhi: The Indian government is pulling out all the stops to endure that India becomes an all Electric Vehicle (EV) market by 2030.

This ambitious target was lauded by environmentalists and ordinary citizens alike.

“We are going to introduce electric vehicles in a very big way. We are going to make electric vehicles self- sufficient like Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA). The idea is that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country,” said Power Minister Piyush Goyal, while addressing the CII Annual Session 2017 in New Delhi.

However voices expressing doubts emerged almost immediately from the industry and the media. They pointed to the vast amount that has already been sunk in establishing infrastructure in India and the amounts needed to create and EV friendly environment.

Hydrogen as a fuel

Now Mercedes-Benz India managing director and chief executive Roland Folger said in an interview that, "By 2040, the whole world will be driving home hydrogen cars. To me the whole plan to go electric nationwide looks like a rushed with idea."

More importantly, he added, with such a rush we are foreclosing options for better technologies for the future generations.

He might have a very valid point. Japan is betting on Hydrogen in a big way. It wants the Tokyo Olympics of 2020 to run on hydrogen with fleets of hydrogen-fuelled cars whisking athletes from the village to the venues.

They are even pondering the practicalities of a hydrogen-burning Olympic flame to promote one of Japan Inc’s boldest gambles: that hydrogen, not batteries, will become the automotive power source of the future.

The biggest carmakers of Japan, Toyota and Honda both have fuel-cell vehicles on the road.

They think that the superior energy density of Hydrogen as compared to EV will overcome the greater complexity and cost of the hydrogen technology.

How does this technology work?

Hydrogen 2

Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel when burned with oxygen, if one considers water not to be an emission.

It often uses electrochemical cells, or combustion in internal engines, to power vehicles and electric devices.

Hydrogen lies in the first group and first period in the periodic table, i.e. it is the first element on the periodic table, making it the lightest element. Since hydrogen gas is so light, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, H2.

In a flame of pure hydrogen gas, burning in air, the hydrogen (H2) reacts with oxygen (O2) to form water (H2O) and releases energy.

If carried out in atmospheric air instead of pure oxygen, as is usually the case, hydrogen combustion may yield small amounts of nitrogen oxides, along with the water vapor.

The energy released enables hydrogen to act as a fuel. In an electrochemical cell, that energy can be used with relatively high efficiency.

Producing Hydrogen Artificially

Because pure hydrogen does not occur naturally on Earth in large quantities, it takes a substantial amount of energy in its industrial production.

There are different ways to produce it, such as electrolysis and steam-methane reforming process.

In electrolysis, electricity is run through water to separate the hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

This method can use wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, fossil fuels, biomass, nuclear, and many other energy sources thus potentially making it an environmentally friendly process.


Add comment

Security code