India is reeling under rising fuel prices and increasing pollution levels. Fuel is a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, a leading cause of global warming. The Indian Institute of Technology- Jodhpur has developed an innovative and natural ‘Future Fuel’, in a bid to combat the fuel crisis. Their innovation has the potential to reduce vehicular pollution in India as well as India’s reliance on oil imports, while bolstering the global movement to reducing warming.
MAKING SUSTAINABLE FUEL A REALITY
The ‘future friendly fuel’ discovered by students of IIT Jodhpur, helps create sustainable energy by utilizing an abundantly available natural resource, the sun. They used a process reversing the process of photosynthesis. The Department of Chemistry conducted research to discover a way to break molecules of water (H2O) into Oxygen and Hydrogen, using a catalyst, Lanthanide. The catalyst traps Oxygen leaving behind pure Hydrogen, which can then be used as fuel.
LOW COST FUEL
700 types of catalyst combinations were used to conduct the experiment to extract pure Hydrogen. The team, led by the head of the Chemistry Department, Rakesh Sharma, discovered a cost effective method to develop Oxygen-free Hydrogen, which can be used as a natural fuel. According to Sharma, “Presently Hydrogen is being produced on an industrial level using methane, but the process is quite expensive and requires a temperature up to 1,000-1,200 degrees centigrade to obtain hydrogen.” The natural fuel will have a low price unlike commercially produced Hydrogen fuel which is three times as expensive compared to current petrol prices in India. Sharma clarifies they would only know the actual cost once the fuel has been produced on a large scale.
REDUCING GLOBAL WARMING
Since fuel is a large contributor to global warming, international researchers have been looking for a solution to trap Oxygen and release Hydrogen. Automobile giants like BMW and Honda have successfully produced car engines using Hydrogen as a fuel but the high price deters its popularity and demand. The IIT Jodhpur discovery can be a gamechanger.
It is believed this Future Fuel’ will reduce India’s dependence on imported fuel by 30% lower vehicular pollution. IIT Jodhpur has applied for a patent so this affordable process of generating pure Hydrogen fuel can become more commercial. The team has previously used Rajasthani clay and sunlight to treat contaminated water.
IIT Jodhpur is an inspiration in the movement to combat global warming.