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Chemical Energy

 The main objective of the Chemical Sources of Energy Programme is the development and applications of fuel cell technology which produces electricity, water and heat through reaction between hydrogen and oxygen/air. The fuel cell technology offers high conversion efficiency, modularity, compactness and noise-free operations.  Fuel Cells are environmentally benign. Hydrogen is the primary fuel for fuel cells. Other fuels can also be used to produce hydrogen gas with the aid of reformers. Because of modular nature, fuel cells are ideally suited for de-centralized power generation and for automotive application.Prototypes of polymer electrolyte membrane or proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFCs) have been developed in kW size in India. The applications of these prototypes have been demonstrated for power generation (PEMFC & PAFC) and transport sectors (PEMFC). A fuel cell-battery hybrid vehicles with indigenously developed PEMFC stack of 10kW had undergone field performance evaluation. Efforts made are expected to lead to the indigenous production and wider applications of fuel cell systems in the country.This programme focuses on development and demonstration of fuel cells, which produce electricity, water and heat through reaction between hydrogen and oxygen/air. Hydrogen is the primary fuel for fuel cells. Hydrogen for fuel cells can be produced by reformation of other fuels. It can also be produced from coal and biomass and by electrolysis of water.  Renewable energy sources and nuclear energy can also be used for production of hydrogen. Because of their modular nature, fuel cells are ideally suited for distributed power generation. Small fuel cell power packs can be used for power generation by industrial and residential users. Fuel Cells are emerging as power sources for automobiles. Efforts are being made to develop indigenous technology for production of fuel cell systems in the country. The widespread use of fuel cells for power generation, transport and other applications is expected to reduce dependence on scarce fossil fuels and help in preserving the environment. Objectives:      

  1. R&D on fuel cell technology including material/ cells stack/sub-system/system development.
  2. Performance improvements, etc.
  3. Indigenous production and promotion of applications of fuel cell technology for power generation, transport and other applications.


bullet Research in materials/processes/ fabrication techniques
bullet Development of technology/ infrastructure support
bullet Demonstration of fuel cell technology for various applications
bullet Performance evaluation of fuel cells
bullet Training, awareness creation, etc.

Thrust Areas in Fuel cells:

  1. Development of low temperature, medium temperature and high temperature fuel cells for decentralized power generation, automotive and other applications.
  2. Research in materials, technology development and up-gradation of the performance of fuel cells.
  3. Production of cost competitive fuel cells in India.
  4. Applications of fuel cell technology.
  5. Creation/expansion of infrastructure to support production and applications of fuel cells.


 Ongoing Projects in Fuel Cells:

    1. Polymer modified metal matrix nano-composites catalyst : Performance screening in alkaline medium (IIEST, Shibpur, Howrah, West Bengal).
    2. Development of bioelectrodes for Biofuel Cell (IIT Guwahati).
    3. Titania nanotubes as an alternative catalyst support for Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (IIT Madras).
    4. Development of Platinum free hybrid electro-catalyst based on nano-structured metal particles and grapheme for fuel cell applications (IMMT, Bhubaneswar).




  1. Indigenous base for research & industrial production being established.
  2. R&D projects are leading to technology/process/material development.
  3. Prototypes of PEMFCs and PAFCs developed.
  4. The application of fuel cells demonstrated for decentralised power generation .
  5. A Fuel Cell (PEMFC)-battery hybrid van has been developed in the country and has undergone field performance evaluation.
  6. 3 kW capacity UPS based on PEMFC developed.
  7. Reformer for a 10 kW PEMFC system developed and tested.

Potential Applications of Fuel Cells :


    Can be used in CHP mode
    Stationary Power Generation
    Surface transportation
    Residential applications
    Power supplies for personal computers, hospitals, health clinics, etc.
    Electrification of remote locations/villages
    For providing back up power in Telecom Towers





 1 x 3 kW PEMFC stacks



 3kW PEMC based UPS


Organisations working in fuel cells :

Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi
Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT), Bhubaneswar
Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL), Hyderabad
Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi
Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute (CGCRI), Kolkata
Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (Goa Campus)
Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi
Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai
National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune
Naval Material Research Laboratory, Ambernath
University of Calcutta, Kolkata
SICES Degree College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Ambernath (W), Mumbai
Institute of Advanced Study in Science Technology, Guwahati
Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati
Centre for Fuel Cell Technology, Chennai
Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur, Howrah, West Bengal






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