Trial runs for India’s first hydrogen fuel cell car successful.
The revolution in the Indian auto industry is just beginning. The story started in 1983, when Maruti Udyog Limited, was established in the sleepy village of Gurgaon, just outside Delhi. It was a joint venture between Maruti Udyog Limited and Japanese auto giant Suzuki Motors. Since, then, the Indian car industry has come a long way and is now among the fourth largest in the world. Ever since the Indian economy threw open its gates in the 1990’s, nearly all renowned international brands have entered the Indian market.
Any global brand you name, Hyundai, Ford, Volkswagen, Kia, Renault, Nissan etc. have their plants in India. The Indian market and workforce are so lucrative that Hyundai has made India the hub of its small car manufacturing in the world. India produces world-class auto engineers and designers, who are experts in frugal designing. Who can forget TATA Nano, the cheapest car in auto history, worth only 2000 USD? The country is producing almost four million vehicles annually, which is around the fourth largest globally. Among the recent advancements in the field of auto development, India is all set to ride the electric vehicle revolution.
Electric cars and hybrid cars running on Artificial Intelligence will indeed dominate the future of cars in the 21st century. Many states in India like New Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra have made it mandatory for all scooters and rickshaws to be made electric by 2025. The Delhi government is adding more than a thousand electric buses by 2025. The Maharashtra government is providing a massive subsidy of 10 crore rupees for every charging station to be installed by the authorities. Now, sensational news has emerged that there has been a successful trial run of the first hydrogen cell car from India, has been conducted by KPIT and CSIR. Let us examine in more details.
Today, great news has emerged that KPIT and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR ) has done successful trials of the first Hydrogen Fuel Cell( HFC ) prototype of the country. The vehicle is functioning on the localized developed fuel stack at Pune, in the labs of CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory. For, those of you who are unacquanited with this technology, hydrogen fuel cell technology utilizes chemical reactions between oxygen and hydrogen from the air, for creating electrical power. Therefore, there is no requirement for fossil fuels. The trials were done on a battery-electric passenger car platform, having Fuel Cell Stack.
The fuel cell is a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM), which has a low temperature. This fuel cell functions at 65-75 degrees, which is ideal for vehicular applications. KPIT and CSIR have created a 10 Kwe automotive-grade LT-PEMFC fuel stack. The base of the PEM fuel cell technology consists of the membrane electrode assembly, a technology entirely native to CSIR. KPIT introduced a stack engineering expertise, which consists of gasket design and light-weight metal bipolar plate. Among additional items are developing a balance of plant (BOP), control software and electric powertrain, which enabled running the fuel cell car and system integration.
The functioning of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is quite simple to understand. This fuel cell stack uses fragile metal bipolar plates. Therefore, the stack weight is reduced by two-thirds. Hydrogen fuel cell technology only emits water and is very good for the environment. This technology is very suitable for big vehicles like trucks and buses. The advantage of using HFC is that it requires a much tinier battery. The car is equipped with a Type III commercial hydrogen tank. The capacity has 1.75 kgs of H2 stored at 350 bar pressure. The FC car will run for 250 km range, under typical Indian roads at a range of 60-65 km/hr. The fuel cell stack and its components with power train are fitted with a standard 5-seater sedan car.
The enlargement of hydrogen fuel cell technology is indeed a boon for the Indian auto industry. It is anticipated that within the forthcoming two to three decades, the oil import bill of the country will be reduced by almost forty per cent and the country will be saved valuable foreign exchange. Secondly, the environmental advantages are immense, with less of fossil fuels burning. Also, greenhouse effects and CO2 gases emission will be greatly reduced.