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High-Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) technology

Topics Covered:

  1. Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

High-Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) technology

 

What to study?

For Prelims: About fuel cells and HTPEM technology.

For Mains: Significance and application of the technology.

 

Context: India’s first indigenously developed high-temperature based Fuel Cell System was recently introduced. It is a 5.0 kW fuel cell system that generates power in a green manner.

The developed fuel cells are based on High-Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) technology.

 

Key facts:

  • Developed under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with Indian industries.
  • Built under India’s flagship programme named ‘New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI)’.

 

How it works?

It takes methanol or bio-methane as the input and produces heat and water as its bi-products, which can be further used. This helps to attain an efficiency that is greater than 70%, which is difficult to achieve by other energy sources.

 

Applications:

  1. Suitable for distributed stationary power applications like; for small offices, commercial units, data centers etc.; where highly reliable power is essential with simultaneous requirement for air-conditioning.
  2. It will also meet the requirement of efficient, clean and reliable backup power generator for telecom towers, remote locations and strategic applications as well.
  3. Replace Diesel Generating (DG) sets and help reduce India’s dependence on crude oil.

 

What is HTPEM technology?

High Temperature Proton-Exchange-Membrane (HTPEM) is the core of the fuel cells running above 150 °C. As in classical PEM fuel cells technology, Hydrogen is electrochemically split to proton and electron on anode. Proton is transported through membrane to cathode while electricity is yielded in external circuit. At cathode protons recombine with electron and reacts further with Oxygen to water and heat.

The technology can achieve efficiency approaching 90% calculated as combined yield of electricity and heat.

 

Significance of HTPEM technology:

  1. HT-PEM Technology enables simple and cost effective fuel cell systems that can operate on fuel sources available today, such as natural gas, propane, and methanol.
  2. When compared to low temperature PEM fuel cells, subsystems for membrane humidification and carbon monoxide clean up from reformate can be eliminated.

 

The operation of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells at temperatures above 150°C offers very significant advantages compared to the conventional PEM fuel cells which are listed below:

  1. High CO tolerance
  2. No need for humidified gases
  3. High power-to-volume ratio
  4. Reduced complexity
  5. Low cost

 

What is New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI)?

  1. It is the largest Public-Private-Partnership effort within the R&D domain in the country.
  2. It seeks to catalyze innovation centred scientific and technological developments as a vehicle to attain for Indian industry a global leadership position, in selected niche areas.
  3. It synergizes the best competencies of publicly funded R&D institutions, academia, and private industry.
  4. It has so far evolved 60 largely networked projects in diversified areas viz. Agriculture & Plant Biotechnology, General Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Drugs & Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Materials, Information and Communication Technology, and Energy.

 

Sources: pib.