IIT Brings Prototype to Use Hydrogen Fuel With Ease and Safety

IIT (BHU) professor Dr. Rajesh Kumar Upadhyay has come up with a membrane reformer prototype for producing ultra-pure hydrogen from methanol.

IIT (BHU) professor Dr. Rajesh Kumar Upadhyay, department of chemical engineering and technology, and his team have come up with a membrane reformer prototype that can produce ultra-pure hydrogen from methanol.

The team informed that it is the first such prototype in India and there are no such commercial units worldwide. According to Dr. Upadhyay, the prototype isolated 99.999 percent pure hydrogen from a mere 15 ml/minute methanol to 13 liters/minute and succeeded in producing 1 KW of power on integration with a hydrogen fuel cell.

To fasten the use of hydrogen as a fuel from green energy resources, recently in the Budget Speech 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to launch a National Hydrogen Mission for generating hydrogen from green power sources.

Hydrogen is a clean fuel that, when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of domestic resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind.

Dr. Upadhyay announced this prototype would significantly reduce fossil fuel use and carbon footprint. Due to the compact unit, it can be used for the on-site production of ultra-pure hydrogen. It also reduces storage and transportation safety hazards associated with hydrogen and can also be used to power mobile towers besides replacing diesel-based generators.

Beneficially, the prototype can also be used to charge electric vehicles (EVs). The research project was funded by the Union government’s department of science and technology. And, the entire unit is manufactured in India, and all components like methanol-reforming catalysts and hydrogen-selective membranes were synthesized at the chemical engineering lab in the institute.

Explaining the use of prototype in EVs, Dr. Upadhyay said, “This prototype can be installed in an EV and integrated with a hydrogen fuel cell to generate electricity for charging. The EV owner can use an app-based module to use the charging facility. This will also reduce the queue at charging stations.” He also informed that the team was working on developing mobile electric vehicle chargers. IIT Hydrogen

IIT (BHU) director Prof. Pramod Kumar Jain said the membrane reformer prototype promotes the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiatives of the government. Prof. Jain added, “Hydrogen is the lightest element and has a much higher energy-to-weight ratio than petrol and diesel. Its use will reduce dependence on fossil fuels.”

He then explained the perks of using hydrogen as fuel, “Use of hydrogen as energy source doesn’t increase carbon dioxide in the environment. However, the major challenge in the commercialization of hydrogen energy is to develop efficient and safe methods of production, separation, transport, and storage since it is highly combustible. The on-site generation of hydrogen significantly reduces this threat,” Prof Jain said. IIT Hydrogen

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