Tuesday, 1 May 2012

IIT Professor Develops an Alternative to Petrol and Diesel

Professor L M Das

New Delhi: After 25 years of nurturing the dream of a clean, green and hopefully inexpensive fuel, IIT-Delhi professor L M Das has developed an alternative to petrol and diesel – a technology where Hydrogen gas can be used as an automobile fuel.

“Hydrogen can be made from both renewable and non-renewable sources. It’s made from water. On combustion, it gives back water. The noxious emission from burning petroleum products is almost completely absent here,” the Professor of the Centre for Energy Studies at IIT Delhi said to Jaimon Joseph of CNN-IBN.

“As conventional engines are not developed or designed to burn the highly explosive gas, hydrogen, Professor Das developed a special electronic ignition system that feeds the engine tiny quantities of gas. After testing it for years in labs like the one at IIT Delhi, the professor took it on road this year,” the CNN-IBN report says.

The result of this professor’s years of hard work is exhibited daily around the massive Pragati Maidan in Delhi where fifteen such three wheelers have been safely ferrying passengers for months now. Just one kilogram of gas is enough for 70 km.

"Abroad, they concentrate on fuel cells. But in India, internal combustion engines have already been operated on CNG. So graduating from CNG to hydrogen would be easier," said Professor Das.

An international consortium has agreed to take his innovative work forward and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation has granted a $500 Million fund for his project. The professor has won an award from Lockheed Martin and India's Department of Science and Technology this year.

However, the major challenge to the project is that making the hydrogen that drives the machine is still expensive. “Mahindra is running a pilot project in Delhi and if that's successful, you could see one of these vehicles on a street near you,” the report says.

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