Bangladesh joins hydrogen energy race

Dhaka, Bangladesh


Bangladesh has joined the hydrogen energy race by setting up of a research centre and a pilot processing plant. The project is part of the government’s larger effort to diversify the country’s energy mix, which is still largely dependent on gas and coal.

Hydrogen is currently being produced at the pilot plant by using waste and biomass as feedstock. The use of water as a raw material will begin soon with the installation of another processing plant.

Following the installation of the pilot plant, the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) has started training scientists to advance the effort towards setting up of a full-fledged Hydrogen Energy Laboratory as part of the project.

The BCSIR said it was working to start production of hydrogen as an alternative energy source in Bangladesh and taking into consideration the availability of abundant water resources in the country.

As renewable energy, hydrogen will help Bangladesh transition from costly gas and polluting coal to clean energy alongside renewables power. The expansion of the technology will accelerate the energy efficiency and the government’s target to generate 10% of the country's electricity from renewables, the BCSIR said in a Jan. 20 press release.

The project is aimed at research, quality control related to hydrogen production, storage, supply and infrastructure development as well as at providing services in the form of a national level reference center.

“We do not have our own fuel. We are totally import dependent for fuel. The hydro energy is a blessing for us,” Abdus Salam, project director and senior principal engineer at BCSIR, told pv magazine. “We have no dearth of water,” he said, adding that even the recycled waste water and sea water could be used for producing hydro energy.

As part of the ongoing project, a hydrogen fueling station will be set up alongside the procurement of a fuel cell vehicle that also runs on electricity, Salam added.

“Hydrogen fuel will boost energy security, energy reserves and the national economy,” he stressed. “Energy from fossils and renewable sources is stored in the form of hydrogen and later it can be used by converting it into fuel and different energy if required.”

The fuel value of hydrogen (142 kJ/g) is three times greater than traditional fuel and has no harmful effects on the environment, the BCSIR added.

About 33.33 kWh energy is generated from 1 kg of hydrogen fuel, but only 12 kWh/kg and 14.7 kWh/kg from petrol and compressed natural gas (CNG), respectively. Fuel cell cars run 100 to 131 km using 1 kg of hydrogen, whereas a traditional car runs 16 km using a kg of petrol.

Salam is hopeful that hydrogen fuel can be made available for industrial and vehicular use by 2030 to 2041.

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