Nowadays everyone talking about electric revolution in automobile as in near future petroleum sources would come to end. But as in India, we still produce electricity mainly from coal based plants, and our nation has electricity deficit (those power cuts now and then), so can we adopt electric revolution just like whole world? Let’s find out.
Petroleum sources would soon dry out and also to fight pollution caused by using it, we have to find alternative. There are many like bio fuel, electric engines, and hydrogen engines.
Electric engines are first choice of most companies as it was in practical use from almost 1960s, where big three Germans succeeded in running cars with batteries. But in fact electric motor was invented way before first internal combustion engine made. So going electric is most practical choice.
India and Electricity
First of all India has huge population so it needs massive amounts of electricity. Today most of electricity produced by coal based plants. We are generating more power through solar and water based natural renewable sources and some nuclear reactors too.
But even if we can’t provide enough electricity for day to day life, think about addition in production capacity needed to charge huge number of cars.
Why electric is not enough for India
Firstly as above mentioned, source of electricity produces equal pollution. So switching electric won’t solve pollution problem.
For that charging infrastructure is needed, and just like current fuel pumps 4 of filling point would not do justice, so it will eat up space. We can’t provide charging stations without supervision as theft is main safety reason.
Also calculating huge cars needed to be electric, batteries needed for them in replacement will be huge in numbers, which also leads to one more hazard, lead pollution. Lead used as main component in today’s batteries, if comes contact with water or land resource, can turn that resource toxic too.
What are the Alternatives?
Only viable solution to electric cars are hydrogen fuel cell or hydrogen IC engines. Hydrogen when burned, gives highest energy and also produces water which is least toxic. Only that it’s firing process needs to be maintained at safe level. Also to store hydrogen, no toxic metal needed, like fuel tanks, hydrogen tanks too can last for longer period, thus reducing waste.
Is it viable?
Well BMW has produced hydrogen run 7series car, which had normal IC engine with modified intakes. But in 2006, technology to produce hydrogen was not efficient. Now hydrogen can be produced using algae into waste water plant, or just using solar or wind power to produce electricity for electrolysis.
Thus hydrogen can be made cheaper now. And also improved fuel cells gives capacity to run even a bus on hydrogen. Recently TATA motors, a big name in Indian commercial automobile segment and 5th largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in world, has produced and delivered 25 buses that runs on hydrogen fuel cell with capacity to sit 30 people to MMRDA which will be used in Mumbai.
Recently Toyota and Honda both has fuel cell cars in their stable. And if hydrogen can be availed at lower cost, even small manufacturers can produce hydrogen powered vehicles due to common parts needed. A graphite tank, fuel cell, motors and sufficient battery storage and you are ready to go.
Bio fuels made from food waste, sugarcanes and Jetropha tree, can also be used and no needs to change current IC technology. But that produces same polluting gases that are produced when fossil fuel is used. But thing is when those plants are grown again, carbon dioxide is taken back by them from environment. Also one more problem for this alternative is food channels can be effected due to large land resource used for bio fuel plantation.
Also biggest benefit of these alternatives are job production. As currently in India charging station can be put by only licensed electricity companies. While anyone can grow bio fuel plants or install solar and wind power unit at their place. So as economic point of view and as environmental point of view Electric powered automobiles are not really that green in nature when used in India. We need to focus on alternatives too.