What are the barriers to hydrogen taking in Indian vehicles?

What are the barriers to hydrogen taking in Indian vehicles?

The energy sector has been in crisis for a long time. Although fossil fuels are accused of contributing significantly to environmental pollution, the rising cost of motor fuels such as gasoline and diesel is making the transportation sector and the overall economy relatively tough.

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In a crisis situation in the energy sector, when environmental degradation and climate change put too much pressure on the industry, cleaner and greener alternative fuels are sought. Although electric vehicles seem to be able to reduce output emissions, there is concern about how electricity is produced.

Most of the electricity produced in India is thermal energy due to the burning of coal. This means that while emission from emission pipes is reduced, lithium-ion batteries or lead-acid batteries run on electricity generated in a massive process of carbon emission.

In this scenario, hydrogen fuel can be a cost-effective, efficient and long-term alternative to fossil fuels such as gasoline or diesel. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is a segment of technology, and many manufacturers around the world have been working on it for a long time, in India, hydrogen fuel cell technology is still in its pre-birth phase.

Countries such as the US, Germany, South Korea, China and Japan have already expanded their fleet of hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles. The French government also aims to use hydrogen fuel cell technology in transportation. However, the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology in India is not enough, despite the fact that the country is one of the major automotive markets in the world.

While the Indian government is promoting hydrogen fuel cell technology as part of its drive to achieve greener and cleaner fuel solutions for automobiles. In the 2021 Union Budget, alternative fuel options received special mention from finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, stressing that green energy and future fuels are a way to achieve self-sufficiency for the country’s energy needs. Underlining this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that India’s industry needs to be ready for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

However, despite the fact that hydrogen is a promising alternative fuel solution, there are several challenges in India to embrace this technology, at least in the near future.

Lack of infrastructure

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Infrastructure remains a major hurdle ahead of the growth of vehicles with hydrogen fuel cell technology. In India, there are few gas stations that supply hydrogen fuel cells, which is lower than enough for motorists and vehicle buyers to adopt vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Greater security concerns

Safety is a major concern in hydrogen fuel cell technology. Hydrogen fuel is highly flammable, even higher than fossil fuels like gasoline or diesel. It is not necessary to store the fuel in the form of hydrogen, but other sources that produce hydrogen, such as methane, propane, alcohol, or regular gasoline, can also generate hydrogen gas in the vehicle itself. However, all of these come with flammability problems and the hydrogen itself is also very flammable which is a safety concern.

The possibility of electric shock is also another safety concern regarding hydrogen fuel cell technology. This system electrochemically combines hydrogen with oxygen, both of which are flammable and generate electricity to power the vehicle and emit water instead of toxic exhaust gases. Some hydrogen fuel cells operate at voltages above 350 volts. Considering that anything over 50 volts can stop the human heart, a hydrogen fuel cell power train carries a high risk of electric shock.

It’s not solid

Unlike gas or oil power plants, hydrogen fuel cell power plants are not very robust because of their delicate and intricate system. These powertrain technologies require very sensitive environments and environments, as very high or very low temperatures can cause system failure. In a country like India, where it gets hot and humid in summer and it gets very cold in the north of the country in summer, the chances of breakdown of these power trains are quite high.

Pretty expensive

Hydrogen fuel cells are much more expensive than conventional internal combustion engine technologies. These electric motors use very rare earth metals such as platinum and as a result are much more expensive than transporting and refining fossil fuels to manufacture hydrogen fuel cells. It is expected that they will pay for the money that hydrogen fuel cells will save in the future, but more stringent upfront costs will drive investors away.

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