IIT (BHU) researchers get success in generating on site electricity from hydrogen
Varanasi: Dr. Rajesh Kumar Upadhyay, associate professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology, IIT(BHU) and his team have developed a prototype based on the membrane reformer technique for producing ultra-pure hydrogen from methanol. This developed prototype will be the first of its kind in India and no such commercial units are available worldwide.
Dr. Upadhyay said that this prototype would significantly reduce fossil fuel usage and carbon footprint. Due to the compact unit, it can be used for on-site or on-demand ultra-pure hydrogen production. This technology allows 99.999 percent pure hydrogen to be isolated from a mere 15 ml / minute methanol to 13 liters / minute and has also succeeded in producing 1 kW of power by integrating the same prototype with a hydrogen fuel cell. The once scaled unit can be used to power mobile towers and be a better choice in place of diesel-based generators. This unit will reduce storage and transportation safety hazards associated with hydrogen energy.
The developed prototype can be used to charge an electric vehicle. The IIT(BHU) researchers are working in the field of mobile electric vehicle chargers where the developed prototype can be installed in a mobile van that can be integrated with a hydrogen fuel cell to generate electricity and be used for charging. The user of an electric vehicle can use an app-based module to use the charging facility while at the office or at home. This will not only save the time of the user but will also reduce the queue at the charging stations. He said that this unit can prove to be very effective for a hydrogen-based car. Such units can be installed at petrol pumps to generate the necessary hydrogen. The technology will reduce the load on the grid and promote the use of hydrogen. The current project for the design of a kilowatt prototype is funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The entire unit is manufactured in India and all important components such as methanol-reforming catalysts and hydrogen-selective membranes are synthesized at Chemical Engineering Lab of the Institute.
The IIT (BHU) director Prof. Pramod Kumar Jain, said that the prototype unit based on the membrane reformer technology also promotes the initiatives of the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atamnirbhar Bharat’. The IIT(BHU) is set to play an important role in the government’s National Hydrogen Mission. The Institute is one of the leading institutes working on all aspects of hydrogen energy and now to establish a centre of excellence in the Institute to accommodate the production and utilization of hydrogen energy for useful applications especially in the transport sector.