Hydrogen is a clean fuel. It is an energy carrier that can be used for a broad range of applications. Also it could serve as a possible substitute to liquid and fossil fuels.Its physical properties could be stated as following. At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a nontoxic, nonmetallic, odorless, tasteless, colorless, and highly combustible diatomic gas with the molecular formula H2.
Speaking of its natural occurrence, it is the most abundant element in the universe. The sun and other stars are composed largely of hydrogen. Astronomers estimate that 90% of the atoms in the universe are hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen is a component of more compounds than any other element. Water is the most abundant compound of hydrogen found on earth.
Molecular hydrogen is not available on Earth in convenient natural reservoirs. Most hydrogen on Earth is bonded to oxygen in water and to carbon in live or dead and/or fossilized biomass. It can be created by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. Water is again formed, when hydrogen is used.
On the other hand, its preparation could be done by breaking the chemical bonds from compounds. A few common methods include electrolysis, from steam and hydro carbon or carbon, reaction of metals with acids, ionic metal hydrides with water, etc. Currently, global hydrogen production is 48% from natural gas, 30% from oil, and 18% from coal; water electrolysis accounts for only 4%.
Its storage is important because it has wide range of applications. They range from stationary power, portable power to transportation, etc. Also it has the highest energy per mass of any fuel. However, its low ambient temperature density results in a low energy per unit volume, therefore requiring the development of advanced storage methods that have potential for higher energy density.
Hydrogen can be stored physically as either a gas or a liquid. Storage of hydrogen as a gas typically requires high-pressure tanks (350–700 bar [5,000–10,000 psi] tank pressure). Storage of hydrogen as a liquid requires cryogenic temperatures because the boiling point of hydrogen at one atmosphere pressure is −252.8°C. Hydrogen can also be stored on the surfaces of solids (by adsorption) or within solids (by absorption).
Hydrogen is considered an alternative fuel. It is due to its ability to power fuel cells in zero-emission electric vehicles, its potential for domestic production, and the fuel cell's potential for high efficiency. In fact, a fuel cell coupled with an electric motor is two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine running on gasoline. Hydrogen can also serve as fuel for internal combustion engines. The energy in 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of hydrogen gas contains about the same as the energy in 1 gallon (6.2 pounds, 2.8 kilograms) of gasoline.
Current sources of Hydrogen production in India
National Hydrogen Energy Road Map (NHERM)
With a view to accelerate development of hydrogen energy sector in India, a National Hydrogen Energy Road Map (NHERM) was prepared and adopted by the National Hydrogen Energy Board in January, 2006 for implementation. The main objective of NHERM was to identify the pathways, which will lead to gradual introduction of hydrogen energy, accelerate commercialization efforts and facilitate the creation of hydrogen energy infrastructure in the country. NHERM covered all aspects of hydrogen energy development in India including its production, storage, transport, delivery, application, codes & standards, public awareness and capacity building. NHERM formed the basis for implementation of Hydrogen Energy Progamme in the country from 2006 - 07 onwards. NHERM suggested modifying and upgrading it later based on field experience in the country and new developments worldwide. Accordingly, a Steering Committee on Hydrogen Energy and Fuel Cells was constituted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) which has submitted its report - Hydrogen energy and Fuel Cells in India—A way forward.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy also supports research, development and demonstration projects on various aspects of hydrogen energy including its production, storage and use as a fuel for generation of mechanical/thermal/electrical energy. As a result, Hydrogen fueled small power generating sets, two wheeler (motor cycles), three wheeler, catalytic combustion systems for residential and industrial sectors and fuel cell buses have also been developed and demonstrated.
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