Kathmandu University Achieves Milestone: Producing Hydrogen for Green Transportation

Kathmandu University Achieves Milestone

Kathmandu University (KU) realized its aspiration to domestically produce hydrogen and employ it in vehicular operations, achieving this milestone on Sunday following two years of intensive research and experimentation in green hydrogen production and application.

Dr. Biraj Singh Thapa, Chief of KU’s Green Hydrogen Lab and Associate Professor, expressed, “Our objective was to locally generate hydrogen and incorporate it into vehicle usage. Today, we’ve accomplished that objective.” He acknowledged the financial support provided by the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) towards hydrogen production and its utilization in vehicles.

Two years ago, NOC and KU forged an agreement outlining plans for hydrogen utilization in Nepal as an alternative fuel, development of hydrogen-related policies, exploration of application methodologies, and showcasing the viability of hydrogen-fueled vehicles on Nepali roads.

Dr. Thapa highlighted the acquisition of a Hyundai Nexo car from Korea, facilitated by NOC, five months prior, along with the establishment of a Hydrogen Refueling Centre within the university premises, backed by a Korean Hydrogen Production Company. NOC extended a financial assistance of Rs. 50 million to the university.

“Commencing Sunday, the process commenced to refuel Nexo cars sourced from Korea with technical assistance from the Korean Hydrogen Production Company,” Dr. Thapa explained. “Upon providing necessary resources to the hydrogen refueling center, the production process involves extracting hydrogen from treated water, subsequent purification, storage in low-pressure tanks, and refueling vehicles from these tanks via a high-pressure mechanism.”

While KU initiated hydrogen production primarily for experimental purposes, it represents Nepal’s maiden endeavor in utilizing hydrogen for transportation. The Hydrogen Refueling Centre at KU aims to produce two kilograms of hydrogen daily for research and testing purposes. Global estimates suggest a production cost of approximately USD 5 per kilogram of hydrogen.

Dr. Thapa outlined the resource requirements, indicating that producing one kilogram of hydrogen from KU’s production facility entails 10 liters of water and 40 to 45 units of electricity. With five kilograms of hydrogen filling, Nexo cars within KU can traverse up to 650 kilometers.

A budget allocation of USD 33,000 has been designated from the support fund to KU for establishing the refueling center, amounting to approximately Rs. 13 million.

Preparations are underway at KU for the inauguration of the hydrogen car, to be attended by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, and for organizing hydrogen car exhibitions across various Nepali locales.

KU’s objective encompasses establishing a pilot project for hydrogen refueling centers, enabling refueling for 30 to 35 hydrogen vehicles, and spearheading policy and procedural frameworks concerning hydrogen in Nepal.

Presently, Nepal lacks established policies or procedures concerning hydrogen utilization, such as its use as fuel, issuance of number plates for hydrogen vehicles, or licensing for refueling center establishment.

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