Hydrogen from excess electricity

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For the first time in Nepal, hydrogen is to be commercially developed from electricity to be used as an alternative energy and fuel. While the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is expressing concern over wastage of electricity in the rainy season, the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is in the process of developing hydrogen in agreement with Kathmandu University (KU).

So far, no process has been taken forward for hydrogen development in Nepal. KU, a corporation as a government body and a technical body, plans to cooperate in policy making on hydrogen using electricity, production, storage and distribution center. It will replace petrol, diesel and gas currently being imported from India, as well as produce hydrogen for chemical fertilizers and other pharmaceutical industries.

Surendra Poudel, executive director of the Nepal Oil Corporation, said that the process has been expedited as hydrogen production is essential to replace the fuel and save the oil corporation for the future.

“Hydrogen has no policy so far. We are now working with KU to start sampling projects for production, storage, distribution, testing, etc. from its policy formulation,” he said. “It will greatly help in fuel substitution.”

Hydrogen is considered as important as green energy for both of them as there is great concern within the NEA that 3,000 MW of electricity will be wasted within the next five years and more than Rs 2.5 trillion of fuel is being imported annually. Director Poudel and former registrar of KU Dr.Bhola Thapa, the Dean of the School of Engineering from KU, Dr.Dambar Bahadur Nepali As per the agreement reached between and Director Deepak Baral from the corporation, the two sides will work together for the next two years on policy formulation, testing of sample projects, study of production, distribution and storage, cost analysis.

Currently, imported fuels such as cars, planes, trains, as well as gas, are being used to replace hydrogen, according to technologies. “In the 1839s, William Grove discovered that hydrogen could be used as an alternative energy to produce hydrogen, which is considered a reliable and green energy source. Many countries are increasing its use,” says Biraj Singh Thapa, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KU. “It not only replaces imported fuel, it also eliminates the problem of wasting potential hydropower generation.” According to him, preparations for hydrogen production can be made within five years, adding that the corporation can develop it as energy by setting up hydrogen centers along with petrol pumps commercially.

Oil Corporation and KU plan to cooperate with the Electricity Authority, Department of Transport Management and others for the production and use of hydrogen. Although the Board of Investment had a big problem with hydrogen in its plan to produce chemical fertilizer factory in Nepal, the product was not used in the country. Although there was a plan to import natural gas from India, there was a problem. The leadership of the Oil Corporation has given priority to hydrogen development and now its infrastructure construction, security, economic analysis and other works will move forward.

Until now, the Oil Corporation has been buying and selling fuel from India, but now it will produce hydrogen fuel domestically, which will be of great benefit to the country’s economy. Executive Director Poudel says that they have come forward with a plan to produce fuel in Nepal and export it.