Tag Archives: Hydrogen

Solar power forges ahead in India – but is there any movement on hydrogen fuelled transport – road, rail or water?

British readers were impressed by the news about solar power generated on Indian railway station rooftops and arrays, which was posted on another website. The blog opened:

Saurabh Mahapatra is a young solar enthusiast from India who has reported on emerging solar power markets in several countries. On the Clean Technica website, he records that in  February’s union budget Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that 7,000 railway stations will be fed with solar power as part of the Indian Railways’ mission to implement 1,000 megawatts of solar power capacity”.

Some readers also expressed an interest in ‘stand-alone, ‘off-grid’ solar generation and use in villages. In some places this was limited to solar lanterns in the home, some PV solar power generating electricity and solar street lighting.

A search revealed news of action in Dharnai, a small village of 2400 people. Located near Bodh Gaya in Bihar’s Jehanabad district, it didn’t have access to electricity. But a few years ago, with the help of Greenpeace, the villagers installed a solar-powered micro-grid, which provides 24×7 electricity to more than 450 households and 50 commercial establishments.

The village has since then been running a website ‘Dharnai Live motivating other villages and asking the government to adapt similar renewable methods; see https://yourstory.com/2015/12/dharnai-bihar-solar/ We would like to know how this was funded.

In British and Indian cities however, traffic congestion is causing problems and damaging health. Leading medical authorities estimate that air pollution is a factor in a huge number of chronic ill-health and premature death.

There is growing interest in cleaner forms of transport, electric cars and hydrogen-fuelled buses, boats and now trains – see a hydrogen chronology on a sister website.

Today a reader sent news from the Railway Gazette that Alstom has completed the first tests of its Coradia iLint trainsets where hydrogen fuel cells replace the diesel powertrains used in a conventional Lint.

Throughout the rest of the year the iLint trains will undergo more rigorous testing at Salzgitter, up to the trains’ approved maximum speed of 140 km/h at the Velim test ring in the Czech Republic.

Alstom says it intends to support the use of wind power to produce hydrogen for fuel cell applications hydrogen production in future.

News on any hydrogen-related developments in India, or elsewhere, from the range of visitors to the site (left), would be welcomed.






A clean fuel source?


Ialgae hydrogen pondn the ‘90s, Winin Pereira, co-founder of CHS-Sachetan, referred to pond algae releasing hydrogen in small quantities, but a search  revealed no further information in his books and papers.

Interest in this subject has been growing. In 2001 the National Center for Biotechnology Information referred to a paper by A. Melis and T. Happe, Hydrogen Production. Green Algae as a Source of Energy, (Plant Physiol. 2001 November; 127(3): 740–748. PMCID: PMC1540156). They opened with the assertion that hydrogen gas is thought to be the ideal fuel – when burnt, no carbon dioxide is produced, only water – but continued:

“A challenging problem in establishing H2 as a source of energy for the future is the renewable and environmentally friendly generation of large quantities of H2 gas”.

Five years later, Indian broadsheet Daily News and Analysis reported that researchers from the University of Bielefeld in Germany and the University of Queensland in Brisbane, working as a team, had succeeded in breeding algae, which produced hydrogen in previously unheard-of quantities.

They had genetically changed the single-cell green alga ‘Chlamydomonas reinhardtii’ in such a way that it produces an especially large amount of hydrogen. This mutation is called ‘Stm6’.

A bioengineering team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also addressed the problem of algae producing only a small amount of hydrogen, their main focus being on the creation of compounds like sugar needed for their survival. They developed an enzyme that increases hydrogen production by 400% and suppresses the algae’s need to create sugar, all without killing the creatures.

In April the MIT website  described this work and referred to a paper they had published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The abstract is available via the link given, but will be totally unintelligible to non-scientists.

Like the genetic engineering strategy, this bioengineering option is not yet commercially viable and further work is under way in several research establishments.

algae chinese beaches

Perhaps China will decide to undertake further research and utilise periodic green algae invasions which have been damaging its aquaculture and tourist beaches for years. Currently gathered, dried and used as fertiliser, could the algae one day be producing enough hydrogen to power vehicles?