India among 15 countries to work together on hydrogen energy

Thursday, 20 November 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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WASHINGTON: Inaugurating the four-day ministerial meeting of International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy Wednesday, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said the partnership has taken shape over the last year.

"Nations have agreed to participate in joint energy research programmes to accelerate development of affordable, efficient technologies using hydrogen as their fuel source rather than fossil-based fuels," Abraham said.

Hydrogen fuel technologies currently are too expensive to permit hydrogen to compete with petroleum products as an energy source.

But as the world's energy demands increase, and as global oil supplies diminish, it is hoped that improved technologies to extract energy from the hydrogen may provide a partial solution to energy needs.

Among the many reasons for pursuing research, said Abraham, are "some very sobering projections about global petroleum markets".

In the U.S, demand for oil is projected to increase by nearly 50 percent by 2025.

"We can expect similar or higher increases all over the world, particularly among major developing countries like China and India," warned Abraham.

With the increased use of hydrocarbons there would be growing environmental problems.

India currently relies on imports for 70 percent of its domestic crude oil requirement.

The November 18-21 ministerial meeting is being attended by representatives from the European Union and the International Energy Agency.

The U.S has pledged $1.7 billion over the next five years to help bring along hydrogen powered cars and the infrastructure to support them.

While several countries including India have made good strides in the development of hydrogen run vehicles, the problem now is to make them affordable and create supporting infrastructure for the viability of such vehicles.

The meet will see several hydrogen-powered vehicles supplied by major international automakers being test-driven.

Once hydrogen powered vehicles become affordable, the U.S. is optimistic that by 2040 it could reduce petroleum consumption by 33 percent, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 19 percent.
Source: IANS
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