Availability of sufficient energy, food, and waste disposal facilities are highly essential for the development of the community.
The rapid use of fossil resources causes an accelerated release of the bound carbon as CO2. The increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is hazardous for the environment and has resulted in to the global warming.
The need of the hour is to switch to an efficient fuel with zero carbon footprints and this path can be achieved by using biofuels.
Bioenergy is the only alternative and cheap source of energy which can be made easily available.
Biohydrogen Pilot Plant (Images credit: IIT-Kharagpur)
The scientists at IIT-Kharagpur are looking at the possibility of tapping into a fuel source that generated from the wastewater; otherwise, we routinely flush down the drain.
The project is funded by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE); the scientists at IIT-Kharagpur are going to revolutionize the next-generation ideas into reality.
The MNRE estimates that one million hydrogen-fuelled vehicles would be on Indian roads and 1,000 MW of hydrogen-based power generating capacity would be set up in the country by 2020.
The biological process has been recognized as one of the promising approaches for hydrogen production. The high production cost is still a key issue for the commercialization.
The researchers at IIT-Kharagpur now aim to generate gas from distillery wastewater that will power the vehicles in the country.
Their research emphases on two process, hydrogen production and bioremediation of the waste water, said Debabrata Das, faculty of the biotechnology department, who is leading the research, reports ET.
A bioreactor with a 10-meter cube volume has been installed at IIT Kharagpur to produce hydrogen continuously from distillery effluent. “This gas can also be used in the fuel cell directly to generate 52kwh of electricity that can light up an entire village,” Das said.
“Hydrogen is found to be suitable as a fuel in vehicles and all major automobile companies are in competing to build hydrogen fuel automobiles in the near future. The humongous rise in energy consumption by 2030 would require an alternative fuel resource with highest energy density. Hydrogen fulfills this criterion. Hydrogen is being considered as a ‘fuel for the future’ because it has the highest energy density of 143kJg,” Das explained, as reported by ET.
IIT-Kharagpur has successfully designed and commissioned pilot plant for biohydrogen production using an 800 L reactor. a prototype 20 L packed bed reactor has also been developed for continuous hydrogen production.