Cars: A four letter word that creates a special space in all the people who have at least once in a lifetime driven and experienced the sheer fun and thrill of being inside it. We all love our vehicles – be it for daily commute, an off-road beast or, for that matter, a luxurious cruising machine, they all have their own charm.

There has been a heated debate on the repercussions of having these automobiles running on fossil fuels and the emission that is caused by them. For a long period of time, smart people around the world are cumulatively trying to figure out a better fueling method for our beloved transportation. As we know, in the long run, this could be a real game changer for the entire automobile industry.

Electric vehicles have been on the road to being adapted as one of the most promising automotive solutions which the future beholds. The electric vehicles in India appear to be gaining traction supported by various initiatives taken by central and state governments. The change is being driven by 2W and 3W segment whereas adoption in the passenger cars is gradually catching up. Recently, leading Indian car manufacturers have announced their plans to shift towards the e-mobility. 2W segment on the other hand is already very action-packed with many leading companies and EV start-ups in India manufacturing electric 2W to push the idea of having an electric-powered automobile.

As we are already on the topic of EVs, we have to be very certain about the source of electricity. If India is trying to shift to electric vehicles, then we have to understand that producing electricity from coal and the issue of pollution will pertain, which is, in a way, a conundrum itself. Putting things into perspective, the right way to go about it is that we should focus more on producing electricity through other sources of renewable energy, and simultaneously, electric vehicles should also use the same source of renewable electricity, which can, in turn, help in having a better future for all of us.

Furthermore, it’s just a matter of fact that, when everyone in the city will solely be using electricity to charge their vehicle, there will be a drastic increment in the demand for electricity. As of now, we are majorly dependent on burning fossils for generating electricity, and to have a sustainable future, we should aim for a better resource of producing electricity. Until we use renewable sources of energy for generating electricity, the EV revolution will not be of much use.

All of this adds up to the fact that there is an urgent need to figure out a better fuel for the future: just to make things a bit better, there is hydrogen, paving the way for a better and sustainable future fuel.

For now, or maybe for quite some time, hydrogen has been regarded as the ultimate green fuel. It is the most abundant element on earth, thus making it rule out all other power producing fuels. It provides three times more energy than fossil fuels and releases pure water as the only by-product. It is also one of the leading options for storing energy from renewables and looks promising to be the lowest-cost option for storing electricity over days, weeks or even months. All of this sounds like a fairy tale, but as humans, we love to experiment and explore alternatives to create a better future for all of us, and in that route, this one sits perfectly.

Now, let’s see what advancements have been going around us. For a start, fuel cell technology relies on the chemical energy of hydrogen to generate electricity in a clean manner effectively. Unlike primary fuels like coal and petroleum, or renewable energy sources like wind or solar power, hydrogen is an energy carrier having a great potential in the long run. This means that hydrogen is required to be produced using primary sources of energy, such as natural gas, water, biomass, among others. Once procured, hydrogen can be used to supply electricity across sectors – including industrial and commercial buildings, transportation, and long-term grid-based energy storage in reversible systems, to name some of the usages apart from the vehicular advancements.

Coming back to cars, the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are majorly powered by hydrogen. Like all electric vehicles, FCEVs use electricity to power an electric motor. However, instead of using electricity through batteries that draw power from the grid to function, FCEVs generate electricity using a fuel cell stack powered by hydrogen that is stored on-board. A rather, useful piece of information for anyone who is looking for better fueling options in the automotive industry.

Hydrogen technology is still at a very beginning stage in the country, and there is limited infrastructure and scale of hydrogen dispensing units available. This makes the acquisition and total cost of ownership for FCEVs higher. To add to it, most hydrogen production methods deployed today rely on fossil fuels, which indeed is a major reason of concern when it comes to producing hydrogen as we are ending up utilising more fossil fuels in a broader spectrum.

Now, let’s place some facts and figures to have a better perspective:

The World Energy Transitions Outlook report by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), year 2021 suggests that the share of hydrogen in the 2050s energy mix should reach 12 percent from almost zero right now and, in a way, lead to having a proper fix for the coming future which seems gloomy for now. It also mentions that 66 percent of the hydrogen to be used in 2050 needs to be green – produced from water as compared to natural gas.

As per the record, today, around 120 tonnes of hydrogen is produced annually and less than 1 percent is green hydrogen, says the report. To meet the 2050 levels, manufacturing and deployment of electrolysers that are used to isolate the element need to be scaled up at an unprecedented rate – from the current capacity of 0.3 GW to almost 5,000 GW by 2050, just to meet the proposed units of hydrogen which, in turn, is a greater task than all of its predecessors.

A lot has been talked about the very useful technology of producing energy using hydrogen. As we all know that hydrogen plays a major role in producing electricity, let’s see what electricity is capable of delivering for the future perspective of transportation.

Even for a less known fact, the auto industry acknowledges that the electrification of the automobile is here to stay. Almost every major automaker is working on battery-electric vehicles that require recharging from the power grid, and cars that produce their own electricity from compressed hydrogen gas. It is safe to say that the hydrogen is the fuel of future, and as soon the whole world tries to maximise its production and storage capacity, we are on a safer path to the future.

To sum it all up, India is also trying to figure out how to act on the future of fuel and have a better idea of dealing with all the tension regarding depletion of fossil fuels while trying to produce energy. A great example to tackle the situation would be of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd. that along with International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) initiated a project to study and evaluate the world’s most advanced FCEV Toyota Mirai which runs on hydrogen, on Indian roads and climatic conditions. This project aims at spreading awareness about hydrogen, the FCEV technology and disseminating its benefits to support hydrogen-based society in India. Hopefully these tiny steps in the right direction could provide us with a greater possibility of the future altogether.