The modification was carried out by scientists at the Pune based CSIR and KPIT
Scientists at The CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, have worked upon an indigenous fuel cell stack, which as per claims can power a four wheeler for around 250 km. The CSIR team along with team members from KPIT, have successfully conducted a trial run of their prototype, which can be classified as the first Hydrogen Fuel cell powered car in India.
The team used a Mahindra Verito as their base vehicle, upon which they installed their customized Hydrogen Fuel Cell. The fuel cell developed by the team happens to be a low temperature PEM type, which operates around the 65 to 75 degree centigrade mark.
The fuel cell is a 10kWe automotive grade LT-PEMFC stack which uses a membrane electrode assembly. Advanced design and usage of metal bipolar plates helped the team to reduce the overall weight of the fuel cell. The fuel cell was mated to a Type III commercial hydrogen tank with approximately 1.75 kg capacity of Hydrogen which was stored at 350 bar.
Power is delivered by an electric motor, which draws its power from this HFC. As per claims by the team, the vehicle had an estimated range of around 250 km while clocking speeds of around 60-65 kmph.
Hydrogen fuel cells work upon combining hydrogen and oxygen together and extracting the energy developed during this chemical reaction. The additional benefit is that during the conversion, the by-products formed are just water and heat. Hence, there are no tail-pipe emissions from the vehicle.
Refuelling is also a relatively convenient process as it just takes minutes to refill an Hydrogen tank however it can take some considerable time to recharge the battery of an EV (comparing 0-tail pipe emission technologies).
However, before we directly claim that Hydrogen powered vehicles do not pollute, we must also consider the emissions in extraction of Hydrogen. A considerable part (>90%) of world’s Hydrogen is actually produced by steam methane reforming which does lead to sizeable emissions of green house gases.
Hydrogen Powered Production Vehicles
In India, we don’t have any Hydrogen powered vehicles which are sold in India. However, in select international markets, HFC powered vehicles have started to slowly feature in company’s showrooms. Some of the well known brands include the Toyota Mirai, which was world’s first mass produced fuel cell powered vehicle, the Honda Clarity and Hyundai Nexo.
We don’t think that Hydrogen powered vehicles will be coming to our shores in the next 1-2 years, at least. However, developments like the one covered in this story are encouraging and makes us hopeful that the future could be greener.