From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Fuel Cells
Mains level : Fuel cell technology and its uses
- The President of India unveiled the first Indigenous High Temperature Fuel Cell System developed by CSIR.
What is Fuel Cell?
- A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts the chemical energy of a fuel (often hydrogen) and an oxidizing agent (often oxygen) into electricity through a pair of redox reactions.
- Fuel cells are different from most batteries in requiring a continuous source of fuel and oxygen (usually from air) to sustain the chemical reaction.
- Whereas in a battery the chemical energy usually comes from metals and their ions or oxides that are commonly already present in the battery, except in flow batteries.
- Fuel cells can produce electricity continuously for as long as fuel and oxygen are supplied.
High Temperature Fuel Cell System
- The Fuel Cells developed are based on High Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) Technology.
- The 5.0 kW fuel cell system generates power in a green manner using methanol / bio-methane, with heat and water as bi-products for further use.
- It has greater than 70% efficiency, which otherwise may not be possible by other energy sources.
Utility of the cell
- It is most suitable for distributed stationary power applications like; for small offices, commercial units, data centers etc.; where highly reliable power is essential with simultaneous requirement for air-conditioning.
- This system will also meet the requirement of efficient, clean and reliable backup power generator for telecom towers, remote locations and strategic applications as well.
- This development would replace Diesel Generating (DG) sets and help reduce India’s dependence on crude oil.
Why fuel cell?
- In the field of clean energy, Fuel Cell distributed power generation systems are emerging as promising alternative to grid power.
- The developed technology is world class and the development has placed India in the league of developed nations which are in possession of such a knowledgebase.
- The Fuel Cells fit well in India’s mission of replacing diesel with green and alternate fuels.
- The development of this technology is indigenous and carries immense national importance in terms of non-grid energy security.