In today’s world, the rising fuel price and high vehicular pollution seem intractable problems for policymakers. India may be able to heave a sigh of relief as one of its educational institutes has found an alternative natural fuel named as ‘Future Fuel‘, which can be used instead of petrol.
Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur (IITJ) has produced a new kind of fuel, in a natural way by a process exactly opposite to photosynthesis. The chemistry department of the institute has put to use sunlight for this process wherein water is broken into oxygen and hydrogen. The fuel is named as Future Fuel (unofficial) by the IITians.
In today’s world, one of the major problems is pollution and meeting the fuel demands of an ever-growing population at low cost seemingly intractable problems for policymakers. Since India imports a great share of its fuel requirements it is critical to the indigenous production of this zero-emission fuel. This ‘Future Fuel’ will help to control the pollution and lucrative for the upcoming generations.
A chemical catalyst named lanthanide is used in this process to trap the oxygen element leaving behind pure hydrogen which can then be used as a Zero emission Natural fuel. Professor Rakesh Kumar Sharma, team leader of researches at IITJ screened around 700 types of catalyst combinations to obtain pure hydrogen before landing on the present one.
As reported by TOI Sharma said, “Presently, hydrogen is being produced on an industrial level using methane, but the process is quite expensive and requires temperatures up to 1000-2000 degrees Celsius to decimate Methane (CH4) and obtain hydrogen.”
He also added that “The challenge here for researchers across the nations to acquire pure hydrogen is to trap oxygen”. The next challenge was in developing hydrogen fuel is the cost, which is almost four times the price of petrol in India.
Sharma said, “For the first time that we have succeeded in obtaining oxygen-free pure hydrogen, which means pure and quality fuel, and that too at a very low price.”
The real price of this particular version of hydrogen fuel developed by IIT Jodhpur will be known only after mass production commences. Until then, it’s hard to say.
Despite concerns, major automobile giants like BMW and Honda are already manufacturing cars which run on hydrogen, although they failed to attract too much demand (public attention) because of the high price of fuel.
Since its inception in 2008, the IIT Jodhpur team has been doing research, is mulling over the use of Rajasthani clay as a catalyst in the process to develop the fuel and bring down further the cost of hydrogen fuel. IIT-Jodhpur has now even applied a patent for this seemingly cheaper process of obtaining hydrogen fuel, which will help India inch closer to realising its dream of having a natural alternative fuel and could help India reduce its fuel import dependence by 30%.