Space fuel for urban shuttles

Discussion in 'Members Corner' started by ankur26888, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. ankur26888

    ankur26888 Regular Member

    Jun 10, 2011
    Likes Received:
    It's the main fuel of NASA's space shuttle launchers
    and will now power a test fleet of autos in the city.
    Hydrogen, so far used terrestrially in some
    avantgarde customized cars and experimental bus
    fleets, will run 15 autorickshaws developed as part of an IIT-Delhi project. But unlike London's
    hydrogen buses and California's Hydrogen
    Highway project that use complicated fuel-cell
    technology, the Delhi autos will be built around
    cheaper internal combustion engines.
    Professor LM Das of IIT-D , who has perfected the technology, explains the rationale for hydrogen
    power: "Hydrogen is like a slightly temperamental
    child. You need to tame it. Once controlled, it can be
    much more efficient than even compressed natural
    gas (CNG)".
    Das says he conceived the idea of using compressed hydrogen as an automotive fuel with
    Delhi's air pollution in mind. In the early '80s, it was
    a bold initiative - an idea ahead of its time. Lay
    acquaintances thought he was talking about
    making a hydrogen bomb. Detractors in the
    scientific community dismissed his research as a freak project.
    But Das soldiered on alone over the next three
    decades as associates came and went. "No one can
    turn a blind eye to the environmental degradation
    caused by vehicles. In fact, before CNG came, Delhi
    had become unlivable . So, despite all the criticism that my research was too futuristic , I pursued it.
    Now the world knows that aggressive steps are
    required to mitigate the environmental damage that
    has been done," he says.
    Unlike petroleum-derived hydrocarbon fuels, pure
    hydrogen does not produce toxic carbon monoxide or the heat-trapping carbon dioxide on
    combustion. There are no oxides of sulphur, nor
    any particulates. Water vapour and oxides of
    nitrogen (NOx) are the only byproducts. Although
    NOx is a pollutant, Das claims their engine has been
    optimized to reduce its emission greatly. "We got the best efficiency and very low emissions," he
    As a member of the government-appointed core
    group on automotive research, Das had worked on
    a hydrogen fuel assignment from United Nations
    Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Centre for Hydrogen Energy
    Technologies (UNIDO-ICHET ) based in Istanbul, in
    2006. Over the next three years, the engines were
    developed at IIT. A conventional CNG engine was
    used with modifications for compressed hydrogen
    gas. While the project at IIT-D's Department of Energy
    Studies resembled a turnstile, one man alone stayed
    on with Das - lab technician GP Singh. The 14-
    member team stabilized after the project was
    officially taken over by automobile firm Mahindra
    that has built up a strong presence in alternative energy with hybrid and electric vehicles. The new
    system was implemented on autos provided by the
    company and trials were done inside the IIT
    Apart from developing the autos - branded
    Mahindra HyAlfa and shown to the public at last month's Auto Expo - Das' team is also working on
    two hydrogen-fuelled minibuses with a 2014
    deadline. Senior project scientist , GP Subhash, who
    quit his job at the University of Petroleum and
    Energy Studies to join Das, says the Ministry of New
    and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is keen on developing a hydrogen-run minibus. "The Rs 15-
    crore project aims to develop two mini buses by
    2014. The idea will take some time to be part of our
    daily lives. But we are at it to prove the efficiency of
    hydrogen fuel," he says.
    Meanwhile, the HyAlfa, which resembles Mahindra's Alfa autos commonly seen in NCR towns, awaits its
    commercial launch and will be the first mass-
    produced hydrogen-run internal combustion
    engine vehicle in the world. The higher price of the
    modified engine and fuel system is a challenge,
    though, for its target market. The economics of running these autos in Delhi is yet to be worked
    out. But Das, Subhash and their team are looking
    forward to the day when the technology will
    become an example for the world and give
    Delhiites a chance to have a smooth ride with less
    noise and smoke.


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