First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus In India: What Is Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology And How Does It Work?

The first hydrogen fuel cell bus developed by India was launched recently by Union minister Jitendra Singh. A brief overview of hydrogen fuel cells is provided here.

Yesterday, Jitendra Singh, minister of state for science and technology, unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell bus developed by KPIT-CSIR in Pune. As a result of the hydrogen fuel cell’s operation, only heat and water are produced.

By combining hydrogen and oxygen atoms, hydrogen fuel cells like those in the bus produce electricity. Electrochemical cells produce electricity, water, and heat when two gases react across them. Electric motors propel the vehicle forward with the help of this electricity.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells: What Are They?

A fuel cell operates similarly to conventional batteries in electric vehicles, but doesn’t run out of power and doesn’t need electricity to recharge. As long as hydrogen is available, they will continue to produce electricity. Fuel cells are also made up of anodes (negative electrodes) and cathodes (positive electrodes) sandwiched around electrolytes.

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The anode receives hydrogen and the cathode receives air. In the anode, hydrogen molecules are separated into protons and electrons, and both subatomic particles travel in different directions to the cathode. Using an external circuit, electrons create electricity that powers electric motors. As a result, the protons move from the cathode to the cathode via the electrolyte. In the presence of oxygen and electrons, they combine to make water and heat.

How Do Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Benefit The Environment?

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) have the primary advantage of emitting no tailpipe emissions. Air and water vapour are the only emissions they produce. In addition to being more efficient, they can also be more environmentally friendly.

For public transportation, hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles are more practical than battery-powered electric vehicles because of their refueling time. A battery-powered electric bus can take hours to charge even with the fastest charging technologies. The process of refueling a fuel cell vehicle with hydrogen takes less than a minute, almost as fast as the process of refueling an internal combustion engine with fossil fuels.

For battery-powered vehicles like personal vehicles, this may not be a major issue, but for buses and other public transportation, it may mean that a valuable asset is out of service for a significant portion of the day.

How Environmentally Friendly Are Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles?

It’s important to note that electric vehicles don’t produce no emissions, but rather no tailpipe emissions when they use battery power. In the country, most electricity comes from fossil fuels, and the world’s biggest source of hydrogen, hydrogen derived from fossil fuels, also causes a great deal of pollution from vehicles.

In the future, we could also generate hydrogen from renewable sources, similar to how we are moving towards renewable electricity sources. Solar and wind energy could be used to produce the fuel that these vehicles need, even if they do contribute to emissions right now.

Also Read: From Tata Altroz to Maruti Baleno CNG, here are 5 upcoming CNG vehicles to beat high fuel prices

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