Researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have developed a device that is the first of its kind for producing on-site ultra-pure Hydrogen. This is a major development as India has made commitments at COP26 Climate Summit for net-zero emissions by 2070. This device is 100% indigenous. The project is funded by GAIL India Ltd.
Rajesh Kumar Upadhyay, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology, said, “Easily installable in petrol pumps, some of the critical needs the device delivers include generating hydrogen for hydrogen vehicles, making the charging of electric vehicles easy and supply of power to mobile towers, among others. The compact and ergonomically designed device caters towards sustainability and portrays socio and economic benefits.”
“It is based on membrane technology for on-site production of ultra-pure hydrogen from methanol. It generates hydrogen, which is fed to the fuel cell to generate power (electricity). Further, the produced power can be used for EV charging, supplying power to mobile towers, and can also be installed at petrol pumps to generate hydrogen for hydrogen-based vehicles,” he added.
Recently, the government launched National Electric Mobility Mission Plan and the National Hydrogen Mission for reducing the dependency on fossil fuels and carbon footprint. The device needs only 0.6 lit/hr of methanol for generating nearly 900 lit/hr of hydrogen. It is easy to use and requires a 2 m2 (square meter) area.
“However, it pertains to two major concerns — firstly, charging EVs through clean and green energy and secondly, commercializing hydrogen energy’s storage and transportation. We recently demonstrated this device and produced 1kW power by integrating it with a PEM fuel cell. The team is also developing a self-sustaining device that will not require any external energy for its operation,” he added.
Pramod Kumar Jain, Director IIT (BHU) Varanasi, said, “The developed device can potentially change the hydrogen energy prospects in India and make hydrogen an energy source for fuelling India’s transportation and power needs. This technology can be a turning point not only in the research areas but also to each and every individual in one way or the other.”
“With efficient experts and researchers on board, the institute is working on all aspects of hydrogen energy and is willing to establish a centre of excellence in the institute to accommodate the production and utilization of hydrogen energy for useful applications, especially in the transport and mobile sector,” he added.