The country’s premier research institute, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and the Research and Development Centre of Indian Oil Corporation Limited have entered into an agreement to develop biomass gasification-based hydrogen generation technology so as to produce affordably-priced fuel cell-grade hydrogen.
Under this MOU, IISc and IndianOil will work jointly on the optimisation of both biomass gasification and hydrogen purification processes. The developed technology will be scaled up and demonstrated at Indian Oil’s R&D Centre at Faridabad.
Hydrogen generated from this demonstration plant will be used to power fuel cell buses as part of a bigger project being conceived by Indian Oil towards ushering in the country’s hydrogen economy.
“The current initiative of producing fuel cell grade hydrogen from biomass is another step by Indian Oil together with the IISc, to bring hydrogen fuel into India’s mainstream energy matrix while utilising the agrarian strengths of the country,” Indian Oil Corporation’s Director (R&D) Ramakumar said after signing the MoU.
He added that the technology envisaged under this programme would not only provide a cleaner energy option for India but will also be a step towards addressing the challenge of biomass waste.
Ramkumar claimed that hydrogen is a promising clean and green alternative to conventional fossil fuels.
“Hydrogen-based fuel cell technology is a sustainable green mobility solution for India. Fuel cell electric vehicles are powered by hydrogen and emit only pure water as tailpipe emissions. Fuel cell technology for an automotive application requires ultrapure hydrogen with impurities less than ppb level,” he explained.
The IOC director stated that Indian Oil Corporation has been pioneering hydrogen research in the country and has recently launched trials on 50 buses in Delhi using hydrogen-CNG as a fuel, based on Indian Oil’s patented single-step reforming technology.
Speaking on the occasion, IISc’s Director G. Rangarajan stated that research for utilising biomass, which would go a long way in meeting de-carbonisation needs.
Meanwhile the Centre for Sustainable Technologies and currently the Chair at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Energy, Prof S. Dasappa stated that the hydrogen production technology based on biomass gasification developed by IISc comprises processes for producing hydrogen-rich syngas from biomass and separation of hydrogen from syngas.
“The Institute has worked extensively on biomass gasification and developed an innovative process for the production of hydrogen-rich syngas. It has been demonstrated in a small-scale prototype at the IISc campus,” he said.