Union Minister travels in hydrogen-powered car as a strong indication of a shift in stance by the Centre

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Union Minister travels in hydrogen-powered car as a strong indication of a shift in stance by the Centre

  • The Union Transport Minister travelled to the Parliament House in a hydrogen-based Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV)
  • It could be interpreted as a strong indication of a shift in stance by the Centre that has so far backed conventional battery-powered electric vehicles, or BEVs.

Categories of Electric Vehicles

  • Typically, there are four broad categorisations of electric vehicles—conventional hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), BEVs and Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)
  • Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs): Low-emission vehicles that use an electric motor to assist gas-powered engines. All energy comes from gasoline.
  • Battery Electric Vehicles( BEVs): Powered solely by an electric battery, with no gas engine parts and zero emissions.
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs): Similar to a Hybrid, but with a larger battery and electric motor. Has a gas tank and a charging port.
  • Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) : combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, which runs the motor.
  • Since they’re powered entirely by electricity, FCEVs are considered EVs, but unlike BEVs, their range and refuelling processes are comparable to conventional cars and trucks.

Green Hydrogen

  • It is hydrogen produced by splitting water by electrolysis.
  • In a hydrogen-powered car, the gas is stored in a high-pressure tank and is transferred to the fuel cell to generate electricity created by a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.
  • It is a zero-emission fuel.

India’s policy on hydrogen-powered vehicles

  • Comprehensive National Hydrogen Energy Mission: Prime Minister while speaking at the 3rd Re-inVest Conference in November 2020, had announced plans to launch a comprehensive National Hydrogen Energy Mission.
  • Hydrogen Energy Mission: proposed in the Union Budget for 2021-22 by the Finance Minister
  • Aim: to generate hydrogen from green power sources
  • 13-point Green Hydrogen Policy: announced by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
  • Aim: detailing the various incentives and ways to manufacture green hydrogen.

Usage of Hydrogen powered vehicles in India

  • Delhi is the first city in India to have buses that run on hydrogen-spiked compressed natural gas (H-CNG).
  • H-CNG is a CNG that contains 18 percent hydrogen and is manufactured straight from natural gas without the need of normal mixing.
  • In Leh and Delhi, NTPC Ltd is running a pilot programme with ten hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric buses and fuel cell electric automobiles.
  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) made an announcement proposing changes to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.
  • It comprises guidelines for evaluating the safety of hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars.
  • It will serve as a supplementary regulatory framework.

Associated Challenges

  • Issues with Infrastructure: A major impediment to the deployment of hydrogen fuel cell cars has been a lack of fueling station infrastructure.
  • Hydrogen production is an energy-intensive process
  • High R&D : This modern technology needs further research in order to make the procedure inexpensive and scalable.
  • Hydrogen transportation: Gaseous hydrogen is very combustible and difficult to transport. Safety is seen as a major priority.

Way Forward

  • Electrolyzer expenses and supply chain logistics must be reduced.
  • Policymakers should also think about how to build legal frameworks that promote the incorporation of the hydrogen-based economy.
  • Public investments must be carefully planned and channelled in this field

Exam Track

Prelims take away

  • Green Hydrogen
  • H-CNG
  • Fuel cell electric vehicles

Mains Track

  • Discuss the significance and associated challenges in adopting hydrogen-powered vehicles in India.