Govt lays out road map for adoption of fuel cell technology

Report recommends the allocation of Rs2,765 crore till 2022 for the adoption of hydrogen as fuel


New Delhi: The central government on Monday released a draft report that lays down a road map for the use of hydrogen energy and fuel cell technology in the transport sector as it tries to broaden the green economy in India.

The draft report Hydrogen energy and Fuel Cells in India—A way forward has been put online by the ministry of new and renewable energy and is open for comments till 20 June.

The report calls for industry participation in projects that will help commercialize technology to use hydrogen as fuel and reflects the concerns of policymakers over rising air pollution and dependence on fossil fuels in the stationary power generation and transport sectors.

Recommending a budget allocation of Rs.2,765 crore in total till 2022 for adoption of hydrogen as fuel, the report said that “use of hydrogen as fuel for the stationary power generation and transportation sectors may lead to a permanent solution” to such problems.

“Transport emissions are about three-quarters from road vehicles. Over the past decade, transport’s greenhouse emissions have increased at a faster rate than any other energy-using sector. Hydrogen is an environmentally clean source of energy carrier to end-users, particularly in transportation applications, without release of pollutants such as particulate matter or carbon dioxide at the point of end use. It is being considered as the fuel for future, an environmentally friendly alternative to depleting fossil fuels. Its application in transportation can be a game-changer in future,” said the draft report.

It also called for the adoption of hydrogen as a fuel in India and the strengthening of research and development for its use. In the initial phase, the report has suggested the conversion of compressed natural gas (CNG)-based buses to hydrogen-compressed natural gas (H-CNG) and a study of its performance.

The report also recommends the development of a fleet comprising 10 passenger cars, two-wheelers, SUVs, three-wheelers and buses operating on fuel cell technology.

In 2006, India had constituted a National Hydrogen Energy Board and readied a National Hydrogen Energy Road Map (NHERM) to accelerate the development of the hydrogen energy sector.

The NHERM covered all aspects of hydrogen energy use such as its production, storage, transport, delivery, application, codes and standards, public awareness and capacity building, and formed the basis of India’s hydrogen energy programme. To upgrade the programme based on field trials, a steering committee on hydrogen energy and fuel cells was formed by the renewable-energy ministry.

India has been betting big on renewable and clean energy to tackle climate change. Energy produced using hydrogen as a fuel is considered an important source of clean energy. The Narendra Modi government has targeted the generation of 175 gigawatts of green energy by 2022.