Application of Hydrogen in fuel cells to be a viable way to control air pollution

The state of air-pollution in Delhi is in the headlines for the last couple of weeks in almost all newspapers, and the images are not that enjoyable to see. We are just a month away from entering a new year but this old issue is still sticking itself with the country’s capital.

It was a shock to the citizens of India when Pure Oxygen in flavored bars were sold in Delhi for Rs.299. 80-90% of pure oxygen is being sold by a company called Oxy-Pure. Such was the state of Delhi’s air condition.

In the middle of November 2019, the judges of the Supreme Court expressed that the government has taken lesser measures to stop this scenario. They said “In our view, little constructive efforts have been made by the government and other stakeholders to find solutions to the problem” This statement was made by Judge SA Bobde and the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. They added “The whole of north India […] is suffering from the issue of air pollution.

When we tried to find out what is the air-quality in Delhi, many online live Air Quality monitoring websites mentioned the status is dire. “The pollution level has reached a critical level. Individuals at risk feel immediate effects. Even healthy people may show symptoms for short exposures.” Reported Plume Labs.

Now, a question that lingers in the mind of a commoner would be “What is the cause of such high levels of air-pollution in Delhi?”

Many were wondering and questioning what the government was doing to tackle this obstacle. Hearing the criticism from Supreme Court, the Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta said that the government is currently exploring the possible usage of hydrogen fuel technology.

Statement from activist mentioned that 65% of the high level of pollution in Delhi is caused by local sources like industry, burning of waste and traditional way of air pollution – Vehicle emission.

While CM of Delhi said that there is a very strong correlation between Air Pollution and Stubble Burning, TOI mentioned activist Sunita Narain saying that stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana has contributed to only to 5-7% of Delhi’s pollution.

On 25.11.2019, the Supreme Court of India said “Why are people being forced to live in a gas chamber? It is better to kill them all in one go. Get explosives in 15 bags at one go. Why should people suffer all this? In Delhi, blame game is going on… I am literally shocked,” Justice Arun Mishra told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

Supreme Court has advised the Centre and Delhi government “to keep their differences aside” and come up with a plan within the next 10 days to set up air-purifying towers in different parts of the city. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt of India is exploring the usage of hydrogen powered fuel strategy.

Hydrogen is a clean fuel and an energy carrier that can be used for a broad range of applications as a possible substitute to liquid and fossil fuels. It is already used in countries in China, Japan and Germany. The Ministry has supported research, development and demonstration projects on various aspects of hydrogen energy including its production, storage and use as a fuel for generation of mechanical/thermal/electrical energy. The application of hydrogen in fuel cells for power generation has been demonstrated as a result of initiatives taken by this Ministry. Hydrogen fuelled small power generating sets, two wheeler (motor cycles), three wheeler and catalytic combustion systems for residential and industrial sectors and fuel cell buses have also been developed and demonstrated.

According to report, by early December, the government will submit a full report on the hydrogen fuel proposal to the Supreme Court.