February 29, 2024

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Indian scientists develop fuel cell technology for disaster management

Image credit: IndiaDST; Twitter

Scientists at the International Advanced Research for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), Hyderabad have developed polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC).

ARCI is an autonomous R&D centre under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

According to a press release, PEMFCs have an advantage of operational capability at low temperatures with applications in decentralised power generation systems.

Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells stack, 5 kW capacity Image credit: Press Information Bureau

Through intense R&D efforts in the area of fuel cell technologies, ARCI at its Centre for Fuel Cell Technology in Chennai has developed in-house PEMFC systems in the power range of 1 to 20 Kilowatt (kW) and demonstrated the same in stationary (1-20 kW) and transport applications (1,3,5 kW).

The fuel cell stack provides sustainable electricity using hydrogen gas without grid power). There is a wide range of applications for his innovation.

Emergency operation centres backed with 10 kW system along with fuel cell stack, air moving subsystems, power control devices, and control and monitoring systems are being planned as natural disaster management measures.

Natural disasters like earthquakes, landslides, cyclones, floods, and tsunamis affect human activities. Tamil Nadu is generally affected by five to six cyclones every year, of which two to three are severe.

The release claimed that there has been a paradigm shift in the focus of disaster management; from response-centric (rescue, relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction) to other elements of the disaster management cycle (prevention, mitigation, and preparedness) as a means to avert the impact of future emergencies.

The state government of Tamil Nadu places equal importance on both the approaches and is keen to develop a robust disaster management system, the release noted.

The latest concept in disaster management all over the world is about the conversion of control rooms to emergency operation centres.

Emergency operation centres respond immediately during an emergency with state-of-the-art communication systems.

Hence, the state government decided to look at the prospect of converting the existing control room to emergency operation centres backed with 10 kW system along with fuel cell stacks, air moving subsystems, power control devices and control and monitoring system.

Fuel cell systems offer sustainable electricity using hydrogen gas without the need for grid power as required by conventional battery backup systems. Recently, ARCI demonstrated the feasibility of providing power to emergency operation centres.

PEMFC stack with a capacity of 5kW has been installed on a mobile truck and demonstrated at the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority (TNSDMA).

ARCI is planning to set up a PEMFC system with up to 10 kW capacity at the Tamil Nadu State Emergency Operation Centre (TN SEOC) to operate systems like early warning systems, VHF set, IP phone, BSNL ethernet, and office equipment like scanners, computers, printers, and lighting.

OpenGov reported earlier that a research team under DST developed an intracranial flow diverter stent to treat aneurysms in the brain.

Flow diverters stents, when deployed in the artery with the aneurysms, divert blood flow away from the aneurysm, thus reducing the chances of its rupture from the pressure of blood flow.

This flow diverter was designed to have a better grip on the walls of arteries of complex shapes in order to reduce the risk of the device moving. It also costs less as it is manufactured in the country.


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