Sucheta Dalal :Hydrogen cell technology to become viable option for defence in five years
Sucheta Dalal

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Hydrogen cell technology to become viable option for defence in five years  

November 11, 2009

Hydrogen Cell Technology (HCT) that makes use of the hydrogen compound made into cells to power vehicles, will become a viable option for defence purposes in India over the next five years, said a senior scientist.


Dr VK Saraswat, chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and scientific advisor to the defence minister, said it would be possible to use HCT for onboard and off-board requirements in guns and other defence systems besides electricity requirements of the defence infrastructure.

The DRDO chief, however, did not give any time-frame for use of hydrogen cell technology for civilian systems such as transport or power generation saying that affordability was the main problem. While the cost of generation of electricity using hydrogen cell is around $3,000 per Kilo Watt (kW), the cost using traditional fuels is just $30 per kW.

Dr Saraswat said that the cost could be brought down by one-tenth, when the production of electricity using hydrogen cell takes place at a mass level.

Earlier, speaking at an international symposium and exhibition on fuel cell technologies, Dr K Kasturirangan, member, Planning Commission, said, “There is a need to dovetail the research and development (R&D) on hydrogen fuel cells with its production and marketing; otherwise the research could become a never-ending affair.” He suggested public-private partnership (PPP) between the governmental research institutions and industry to help bring the technology to the market.

A fuel cell is an electrochemical engine that continuously converts chemical energy stored in a fuel to electrical energy through electrochemical reactions taking place over a catalyst. In most cases abundantly available oxygen from atmosphere is utilised together with hydrogen that is used as a fuel.
-Yogesh Sapkale [email protected]

-- Sucheta Dalal