India has just inaugurated its first hydrogen-fueled bus
During its inauguration in Pune, the Minister of Science and Technology declared that this initiative aims to make the country self-sufficient in clean energy. It also aims to achieve the objectives of fight against global warming and to create jobs in this sector. Its design is the result of collaboration between the Scientific and Industrial Research Council and a private company named KPIT Ltd.
How does a hydrogen fuel cell work?
Fuel cells work like the batteries we know. The only difference is that they do not need to be recharged with electricity. As long as there is a reserve of hydrogen, they will continue to produce electricity. Their lifespan is estimated at 20 years.
Like conventional batteries, a fuel cell consists of an anode and a cathode. Electricity is generated by the oxidation process, that is to say that the anode receives hydrogen and the cathode oxygen. Subsequently, the anode burns the fuel. Then, it releases the electrons that the electrolyte will force to pass through an external circuit. The hydrogen stored in a tank and the oxygen present in the ambient air will feed the battery.
An economical and ecological solution
Operating cost comparison hydrogen fuel cell trucks and diesel powered trucks is very promising. Indeed, that of the hydrogen fuel cell is much lower. This technology should therefore make it possible toreduce the cost of transporting goods.
According to the press release from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the only release from the vehicle is water. In addition, it is the most environmentally friendly mode of transport. Indeed, a diesel-powered bus generally emits 100 tonnes of CO2 per year in India. There are approximately 1 million of these buses.
“About 14% of CO2 emissions come from diesel-powered heavy-duty vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a great way to eliminate on-road emissions in this sector.”
The Minister Jitendra Singh
Limits to hydrogen fuel cells?
Hydrogen in its natural state does not exist on earth. Actually yes, but combined with other elements like oxygen or carbon. It is thus necessary to extract it in order to be able to use it.
Several methods of extraction are possible, but India has opted for that of water electrolysis. This process is also the least polluting. The principle is to decompose water into dioxygen and dihydrogen gas. Then recover this gas to obtain green hydrogen.