Need to promote natural gas-based fuel cell technology: Pradhan

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Bengaluru, Sep 17 (IANS) More than half the power requirement here of IT multinational Intel’s Indian subsidiary is produced from fuel cells using natural gas, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday.

“Out of Intel’s power requirement of 4MW, 2.5MW is produced using fuel cell based technology using Natural Gas developed by Bloom Energy,” Pradhan tweeted following a visit to the Intel R&D centre here.

“Visited Intel R&D centre in Bengaluru. The $12 Billion facility is one of the three such facilities in the world,” he said.

Last month, state-run gas utility GAIL (India) and US-based Bloom Energy signed an agreement to deploy revolutionary natural gas-based fuel cell technology to generate electricity.

Gas is already being supplied by GAIL for energising a multi-megawatt Bloom Energy project at the Technology Park here.

The technology is currently being used by over 100 of the Fortune 500 companies that are diversified majors in IT, Telecom, retailing, e-commerce and consumer goods.

Bloom Energy’s solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology converts fuel into electricity using natural gas as the base fuel in a highly efficient non-combustible process that reduces emissions of greenhouse gas and harmful air pollutants, and with minimal use of water.

“GAIL is supplying PNG for this to Bloom under an MoU. This Green Energy with no noise & minimal water intake can replace diesel based gensets,” Pradhan said in a separate tweet.

The minimal use of water is a major consideration here in India’s major IT hub, which has witnessed violent street protests this week provoked by the court-mandated release of Cauvery water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

“Fuel cells can use biogas generated from biomass in rural areas & from municipal wastes in the cities to generate cost-effective green energy,” he said

“There is a need for promoting this technology. With scale the cost of this will become affordable for common & domestic consumers as well,” Pradhan added in another tweet.

He also visited the LPG Equipment Research Centre (LERC) here that specialises in testing various liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) equipment.

“Asked LERC to think out of box; put consumer convenience on top priority & adopt suggestions given by industry experts & innovators,” he tweeted after the LERC visit.

“Startups have a great role to play with innovations in making LPG more environment friendly by enhancing efficiency & reducing emissions,” he said in another tweet.



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