Hydrogen fuel cell technology seem have a future with practical electric vehicles. It eliminates one only of the grimes we have with an electric vehicle which is – the charging time. We are now hearing murmurings that Indian oil is working on Hydrogen so that when vehicles with fuel cell technology are introduced in our market, we have the capacity to cater to them. So what do we know till now? Is Hydrogen Fuel for EVs going to be a reality soon? Here is a detailed account on the same.

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Race for Alternative Fuels

There is a worldwide hunt going on to find more alternative fuels and applications. Burning coal and using fossil fuel is not going to be sustainable. Now instead of diverting the attention completely towards finding new alternative fuel, Indian Oil is going to focus on ramping up its ability to supply hydrogen which can be used in Hydrogen fuel cells. IOCL is researching how viable is this for our market and the impact for emissions if made available. But is the automobile sector ready to accept Hydrogen as a fuel? Currently no manufacturer sells hydrogen fuel cell cars in India. So why make Hydrogen Fuel for EVs that don’t exist? Indian oil is planning for the long-term.

We also know that the BS6 norms are not the last to kick-in. We will eventually be faced with newer norms that will be stricter and it will start making sense to adopt alternative fuels, flex fuels and EVs. So planning fir Hydrogen Fuel for EVs right now when the acceptance for electric cars is growing in our market makes sense.

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Hydrogen Fuel for EVs

Now if we look at Hydrogen vehicles overall in the world – the most famous is the Toyota Mirai. The car derives power from a lithium-ion battery paired to 3 hydrogen tanks and Toyota’s fuel cell system. Toyota Fuel Cell System, or TFCS, is the backbone of Mirai’s powertrain. It includes a polymer-electrolyte fuel cell containing 330 cells with titanium separators, for a maximum power output of 171 bhp. At the Auto Expo 2020, the Hyundai Nexo was shown which too was a Hydrogen-powered EV. Also, Indian oil is going to send 50 hydrogen buses from its Haryana and Gujrat refineries.

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Difficulties with Hydrogen

In September 2020 government came with the Automotive Industry Standard – AIS 157 which includes safety procedural requirements for type approval of hydrogen FCEVs. So if a manufacturer has to introduce a Hydrogen powered car then it has to be in sync with the standard of AIS-157. This also means that India is considering Hydrogen as a type of fuel for the future. Pumping hydrogen and storing it also requires many changes in established business practices and infrastructure of traditional fuel pumps.

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Indian Oil and Hydrogen Fuel for EVs

Indian Oil is the largest producer of Hydrogen. They plan is to make Hydrogen more subsidized than oil. The company has been researching Hydrogen fuel cell along with Tata since 2018. By the end of this year, the company is going to roll 50 busses as mentioned earlier. They have been testing the practicality of this fuel in buses and everyday uses. Currently, Hydrogen that is being produced via natural gas is not really economical to circulate. It produces methane and other gases which are not good for the environment. The other challenge is to remove the carbon footprint all together. That means the process needs to be conducted with renewable energy supplying the manufacturing hydrogen by electrolyzing water.

What do you think about Hydrogen Fuel for EVs being made by Indian Oil? Will you consider a car with Hydrogen Fuel cell? Filling up hydrogen is the same as fuel and does not take time. Will that make you buy a EV? Let us know below.

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