CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL), Pune celebrated the National Technology Day on May 11, 2021. On this occasion, a special session was organised on “Hydrogen Economy in India” with Shri Ravi Pandit, Co-founder and Chairman of KPIT Technologies Ltd., Pune.
Shri Ravi Pandit initiated the session, saying that the talk of Hydrogen has gained a lot of momentum over the last few years. The appreciation of climate change is higher now than ever before. Climate change issues have evidenced the destruction that is happening because of the increased emission of greenhouse gases. We see the movement towards Hydrogen as a potential solution. Many countries have come up with their Hydrogen mission now. India is also coming up with one. Globally, significant energy or automotive companies have participated in the conversations on Hydrogen being part of the Hydrogen Council. We have plenty of sunlight and water, so there is access to Hydrogen as well. People would like to be self-dependent for their energy needs. He asserted, “Hydrogen is the only option for deep decarbonisation.”
Shri Pandit expressed that all of us should have the lightest touch on the environment, and Hydrogen provides the most delicate touch. You can generate Hydrogen from Water, use it in a fuel cell, and turn it back into water which is better than anything. During this whole process, you generate energy which is probably the most beautiful part. Its availability, energy richness, its cyclicity are the vital features of Hydrogen. He also said that the batteries are suitable for smaller vehicles driving shorter distances. In contrast, any large vehicle running a longer distance and continuous time indeed finds Hydrogen more appropriate.
Shri Pandit opined that India has to bring out the transition from an internal combustion engine complete system to an electric drive-based machine. Many of the components are entirely different. We have to develop them indigenously. We will need a motor, a motor controller, an engine ECU (Electronic Control Unit), DCDC converters, a battery management system, etc. These are very much doable here in India. It includes the fuel cell and balance of the plant and the fuel cell cylinders, the storage part. These are the areas where much work needs to be done. The way to solve this problem is to have innovation plus scale coming into the picture. There are multiple areas in which one can do technology development for innovation and bring down the cost. There is a complete value chain of the Hydrogen ecosystem. Work has to be done for Hydrogen generation from biomass, electrolysis, reformers, storage, transportation, gaseous transportation, Hydrogen dispensing, cooling and compression, various membranes, fuel cells, and catalysts, materials of the fuel cell, etc. If we do the technology development here in the country, we can bring down the cost of that technology.
Shri Pandit revealed that in India we could make the fuel cells at a much lower cost. We can deflate the cost of every part of the generation, transport, dispensing, and consumption of Hydrogen and make it very much affordable. It is not just about coming up with a clean fuel; this is also about meeting a considerable part of India’s commitments to COP21. Our GDP can be increased by almost 6% by moving to Hydrogen just for the transport sector. In concluding, he pointed out that the current economic development has many problems, such as energy, environment, and employment. So we are destroying the environment, polluting the world with wrong energy choices, and not gaining jobs. A green economy like Hydrogen can solve these three problems. “I can imagine a much cleaner, greener country with better employment with less unequal income distribution in times to come with Hydrogen technology,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Ashish Lele, Director, CSIR-NCL, said that the Technology Day has its importance – celebrating the translation of science into technology, which is viable and successful in the market.
Many eminent CSIR-NCL scientists, including former directors Dr R. A. Mashelkar and Dr S. Sivaram, were present in this session.