Space agency helping Tatas develop hydrogen fuel cars

Thursday, 22 November 2007, 08:00 Hrs
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Bangalore: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is partnering Tata Motors Ltd to develop hydrogen fuel cells for automobiles by using its cryogenic technology, a top space agency official said here Thursday.

"As a spin-off of the cryogenic technology we have successfully developed for our advanced launch vehicles, we are trying to see how best we can use this technology for other applications such as transportation," ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair told reporters on the sidelines of a space conference.

"We have signed an agreement with Tata Motors to develop hydrogen-based fuel cells and build some automobile modules that can be put on road by next year," he added.

Affirming that hydrogen was going to be the fuel for next generation applications, especially in transportation, Nair said the prototype would be hydrogen-powered with storage-handling and regulatory systems.

"The prototype will be electric driven without an engine. Hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen will combine in the fuel cell to generate electricity for driving the vehicle, which will be pollution-free," Nair said.

"The hydrogen-based fuel will only emit water vapour," Nair said after inaugurating the 14th session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum on "Space for Human Empowerment".

"Even in India, there are a number of plants where hydrogen is being produced as a by-product. It is, however, not being utilised properly. The major hurdle is the fuel cell technology, which we have not mastered yet. The ongoing project is an attempt to achieve the breakthrough in using rocket technology for mass applications," Nair pointed out.

The Indian space agency has successfully conducted the final test of its indigenously developed cryogenic engine at its liquid propulsion test facility at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu.

The engine will be used as the upper stage of ISRO's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle in mid-2008. The test was for its full flight duration of 12 minutes.
Source: IANS
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