HYDROGEN FUEL CELL (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     28th May 2024        
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Context: The Indian Army, recently focusing on hydrogen fuel cell technology for heavy-duty e-mobility, received a state-of-the-art green hydrogen fuel cell bus from Indian Oil for use in Delhi.


Hydrogen Fuel Cell

  • About: It is a device that converts the chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity through an electrochemical reaction.
  • This technology involves combining hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water.
  • Key Component :
  • Electrolyte: The fuel cell contains an electrolyte, a substance that conducts ions. Commonly used electrolytes include proton exchange membrane (PEM), phosphoric acid, molten carbonate, and solid oxide.
  • Anode: Hydrogen gas is fed into the anode side of the fuel cell. At the anode, hydrogen molecules (H2) are split into protons (H+) and electrons (e-) through a process called electrolysis.
  • Cathode: Oxygen from the air is supplied to the cathode side of the fuel cell. The oxygen molecules combine with electrons and protons that have traveled through an external circuit from the anode, creating water (H2O) as a byproduct.
  • Electrochemical Reaction: The chemical reactions occurring at the anode and cathode generate an electric current. This electricity can be utilized to power electric vehicles, electronic devices, or provide electricity for various applications.
  • Benefits: Low-to-zero emissions, High Efficiency, Reliability, Fuel Flexibility, Energy Security, Durability, Scalability and Quiet Operation.
  • Applications: Hydrogen fuel cells find applications in various sectors, including transportation (fuel cell vehicles), stationary power generation, and portable electronic devices.
  • hydrogen fuel cell bus: The bus has been developed by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and KPIT, an Indian Multinational Corporation.

oSignificance: It is in tune with the National Hydrogen Energy Mission.

oEnvironmentally friendly mode of transportation: The fuel cell utilises Hydrogen and Air to generate electricity to power the bus and the only effluent from the bus is water.

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