New Delhi: Using hydrogen as auto fuel in the country seems to be a distant dream as it would take three to four years to start a major research and development project for the purpose.
“The R&D project for use of hydrogen as auto fuel would take off in three to four years time. Many companies have evinced interest for that but it has not been awarded so far,” Chairman of Scientific Advisory Committee (Oil Ministry) M B Lal told PTI on the sideline of a Petrotech-2009 conference.
He said, “We have about Rs100 crore as seed money, but more funds would be required to meet the requirement. The oil companies as well as government would have to shell out more funds for the project.”
Government has created ‘Hydrogen Corpus Fund´ of Rs100 crore for which Oil Industry Development Board gave Rs40 crore. The oil companies -- ONGC, GAIL and IndianOil -- contributed Rs16 crore each. HPCL and BPCL have given Rs6 crore each.
An oil company official said, “However, few oil companies do shell out funds for R&D on hydrogen as auto fuel. But a major project is not on so far. Using hydrogen as auto fuel is not easy as many problems relating to its production, storage and transportation pose big challenge.”
According to government’s ambitious ‘Hydrogen Energy Road Map´ unveiled in January 2006, one million vehicles should be using hydrogen as fuel by 2020. Apart from this, it envisages 1,000 MW power plant using hydrogen as fuel.
A total investment requirement of Rs25,000 crore has been projected in the ‘National Hydrogen Road Map´ for creating required supply infrastructure, including Rs 1,000 crore for R&D and demonstrating activities.
IndianOil is all set to open its first hydrogen-CNG dispensing station in the National Capital next week. The company has initially planned to mix hydrogen and CNG in the ratio of 20:80 per cent.