1. IIT developing bio-hydrogen fuel from waste

IIT developing bio-hydrogen fuel from waste

Aiming to generate clean fuel from waste, a large-scale bio-reactor plant for producing hydrogen on a pilot level would be ready at IIT Kharagpur...

By: | Kolkata | Updated: March 8, 2015 12:49 PM
IIT Kharagpur, iit news, indian institute of technology, hydrogen gas, bio hydrogen, technology latest news, science news

Aiming to generate clean fuel from waste, a large-scale bio-reactor plant for producing hydrogen on a pilot level would be ready at IIT Kharagpur this year. PTI

Aiming to generate clean fuel from waste, a large-scale bio-reactor plant for producing hydrogen on a pilot level would be ready at IIT Kharagpur this year.

As part of a project funded by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Professor Debabrata Das of IIT-Kgp’s department of biotechnology is leading a group of Indian scientists from six institutes to produce bio-hydrogen (hydrogen gas) using waste.

“Our pilot plant of 10 m3 capacity would be ready within 3-4 months for which we are constructing a building inside the campus. Hopefully the pilot plan study would be done within a year and after that we can go for commercialisation of the technology,” Das who has been working on hydrogen production for about 16 years told PTI.

He said oil major ONGC has already shown interest for higher scale studies of 100 m3 biohydrogren plants.

With fossil fuel reserves depleting, hydrogen holds the promise to provide clean and eco-friendly energy supply to meet the growing energy needs for transportation and power generation in the coming years.

Large-scale production of hydrogen gas for commercial use is now at R & D stage in India. According to experts, storage would be another challenge as hydrogen has a very low volumetric energy density and requires large space to store.

The National Hydrogen Energy Road Map has projected that one million hydrogen-fuelled vehicles would be on Indian roads and 1000 MW aggregate hydrogen-based power generating capacity be set up in the country, both by 2020.

Although hydrogen can be produced from fossil fuels and biomass, IIT scientists are trying to generate the gas from distillery wastewater with a vision of ‘waste to energy’. They are using dark fermentation process under which bacteria can work both in the presence and absence of light.

“We have isolated several organisms – one from the leaf of a particular tree and one organism from high oil containing soil. All are giving very good results,” Das said.

Methane would also be produced in the process.

The cost of production would be a critical factor in getting the technology move from lab to factories.

Besides IIT, researchers from other institutes like Allahabad University, Banaras Hindu University, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) Hyderabad, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, and The Energy Research Institute, New Delhi, are also involved in the project.

  1. A
    Mar 8, 2015 at 6:48 pm
    The image above is of IIT Delhi while the report mentions IIT Kharagpur.
    1. G
      George Chakko
      Mar 9, 2015 at 12:41 pm
      Congratulations to Prof. Das for kick-starting this option twist in India’s miserable energy future strategy. Many people in this world, especially in our country, above all our energy planners haven’t realised that hydrogen is the energy fuel of this millennium and there is no turning away from it; a hydrogen-based economy is the automatic choice carrier of its sustainability. For India and the rest of the nations in the earth’s sun-belt, the solar-hydrogen (SH) option is the technology of choice to solve their energy problems and a sustainable guarantor of a clean environment. The entire ‘Fusion’ research is aimed to produce this fuel in a large scale. One gl of water supposedly would yield 100,000 kWs/hr. As a convinced and an ardent incorrigible promoter of SH technology the past 3 decades together with a top U.S. scientist (late H.F. Matare) I can only confirm I fell on deaf ears with our SH proposal from 1985 onwards. Even a nuclear scientist from BARC once derided me -”You want to take our biz away?” It is only in the last 10 years that interests have woken up. The wider public in India are yet to realise that Sun energy light is free of cost, so is sea water, rain water and melting snow m. All you need to do is to split it into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis (sea water after desalination) with electricity produced by solar power plants and store. Hydrogen can be burnt as fuel and when burnt water is produced avoiding exhaust gas pollution. Oxygen can be used for industrial applications and for cleaning of polluted rivers, lake, and water ponds. It is the hydrogen storage in m industrial scale that poses a technological challenge. While lots of progress has been on the fuel-cell front and hydrogen storage in metal –hydrides has proven feasible for hydrogen-powered vehicles, both m H2 storage under-ground (liquid H2) and over-ground, demand 100 percent risk-free solutions. I don’t how far Prof. Das & his team have addressed this issue. H2- public transport busses are already plying the city streets of California with supportive fuel stations. Both Daimler-Benz and BMW had produced hydrogen-fuelled cars as early as 1989. I had inspected both models at the Hannover Industrial Trade Fair then. A hydrogen economy potential bolstered by this new invention proves that it is feasible for the w of India. Why India’s pioneer Tata & Sons hasn’t got into this game of producing hydrogen-run cars beats me a bit. The bio-hydrogen project of the IIT Kgr reduces bio-waste pollution significantly and that’s a great plus point. I wish him and his team great further success. George Chakko, Former U.N. correspondent, now retiree in Vienna, Austria. Vienna,09/03/2015 08.30 am
      1. v
        Mar 10, 2015 at 11:54 am
        why can not use floating solar cell provide electrolysis producing hydrogen directly from sea, collected, compressed and sold to fuel station ?

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