The Union road transport and highways ministry has notified hydrogen-enriched compressed natural gas (CNG) as an automobile fuel on 28 September 2020. An ideal blend of 18% hydrogen in CNG can be used as automotive fuel after compression. This can lower emissions, and promote green fuel for automobiles in the country. It can also reduce carbon monoxide emission by 70%.
 
 
What
  1. The Hydrogen Compressed Natural Gas (H-CNG) is a mixture of compressed natural gas and 4-9 percent hydrogen by energy
  2. It can be used as a fuel in an internal combustion engine and also for home appliances.
  3. Using H-CNG (18% mix of hydrogen) certain CNG engines have been tested to understand the emission reduction using H-CNG compared with ‘neat’ CNG, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has developed specifications of hydrogen enriched CNG as automotive fuel.
  4. The Transport ministry has been trying to push adoption of electric mobility as well as clean, alternative fuels, including ethanol, methanol, bio diesel, as one of its ways to reduce pollution and cut the massive fuel import bill
  5. Ethanol can be also derived from rice. By doing this, we can save on the import bill as ethanol can be used to run cars and buses. 
  6. A notification for amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, for inclusion of H-CNG as an automotive fuel has been published vide GSR 585 (E) dated September 25, 2020, by the ministry. 
  7. The draft rules in this respect were made available to the public. No objections and suggestions were received from the public in this respect, the ministry said in a press statement.
Flashback
  1. According to the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) report released in 2018, H-CNG technology is promising as it can be set up in different locations such as petrol pumps or bus depots. 
  2. It is an intermediate but important step in our transition towards a hydrogen economy. The most promising aspect of this technology is that it will allow for the utilization of the existing infrastructure of CNG buses as well as the piping network and dispensing stations. 
  3. Therefore, it can be seen as the next-gen CNG for cleaner air, it said in a report in 2018.
  4. Arai (Automotive Research Association of India) and IOCL (Indian Oil Corp. Ltd) have carried out tests on 6 CNG heavy duty engines using H-CNG (18% mixture) and has found that the engine has passed the endurance tests; had improvement in performance and that no visible issue was found in the workings of the engine.