Can Hydrogen Fuel Franchise be the Next Big thing in the Automotive Sector?
The stories of Delhi’s air quality being degraded are not unknown to us. Delhi & NCR regions are suffering from the worst environmental degradation level that the country has ever seen, with a dreadful Air Quality Index (AQI) of 505. Therefore, the Supreme Court of India recently came up with a suggestion to look at hydrogen fuel vehicles for the rescue.
The concept of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles is being explored across the world since a very long time. Market leaders like China, Japan and South Korea are taking a lead in line of development in this technology quite aggressively. Recently, a report said that China is now focusing on development of FCEV technology and has set a target for over one million FCEVs and 1000 hydrogen refuelling stations in service by 2030.
Even in India, an IIT based research paper published in 2009, also suggested that India’s automobile future would likely to be dominated by hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. So, it is likely to expect another revolution to happen in the franchise industry with the proposition of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.
How promising are Hydrogen Vehicles?
An element present abundantly in the air, hydrogen is a clean fuel with highest energy content in terms of mass (120.7 MJ/kg). When burnt, hydrogen produces water as a by product. Apparently, it is not only an efficient energy carrier but a clean and environment-friendly fuel as well.
When we talk about its efficiency, hydrogen doesn’t disappoint us much. Hydrogen can be used as an automotive fuel through fuel cells and internal combustion engines. Having a hydrogen vehicle is like having an electric vehicle with a fuel tank. Another pleasant thing about using a hydrogen vehicle is that its refuelling time is similar to that of any gasoline car, so one doesn’t have to stop by fuelling stations more often.
Hydrogen enriched CNG, also known as H-CNG, is yet another project that has a very great scope in the long run. Hydrogen (up to 20% by volume) can be blended with compressed natural gas for use as an automotive fuel (CNG), and the blend of both of these gases has been found to be more efficient than CNG in terms of reducing emissions.
Talking about the limitations of hydrogen as a fuel, it is likely that the fuel cell tanks can explode in an accident. So, basically, it’s a shortcoming, which can be expected in any fuel for that matter.
Hydrogen Vehicle and its Infrastructure as an Entrepreneurial Opportunity
As discussed above, hydrogen as a fuel and its vehicles are quite promising for the future. Just like the inception of electric vehicles has shifted the paradigms of the automobile industry, the future can be in favour of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. With EV and its charging infrastructure came different entrepreneurship opportunities for aspirants and the same can happen with the hydrogen-fuelled vehicles in the near future.
The government of India has embraced the concept of electric vehicle with an open heart and has also taken initiatives to encourage the use of EV to make India a greener place. Likewise, at present, the government is taking up research, development and demonstration activities to develop and improve hydrogen fuelled vehicles and its infrastructure. With eminent support of government and the constant efforts of entrepreneurs, hydrogen fuelled vehicles could come at the forefront in the automobile industry in the near future.
As electric vehicle market is being quite prominent in the Indian automobile industry, entrepreneurs in the industry are captivated and are launching their own EV models to catch up with the ongoing boom of the EV. Likewise, FCEVs and hydrogen fuelling stations can be built in anticipation of future demand and can be explored as an entrepreneurial opportunity altogether.
As entrepreneurs realise the potential of hydrogen vehicles and its fuelling infrastructure, franchising can be an apt model of expansion for brands, much like what’s being done right now with EV and EV charging stations.
It’s a famous adage, which says, “Every problem has in it the seeds of its solution”. Ironically, the degrading air quality has its solution in the air itself, in the form of hydrogen gas. The clean fuel, hydrogen gas is the future of automobile sector in a lot of ways. Just like EV has transformed the whole automotive scenario, it is believed that the ever-evolving technologies can bring us a lot of entrepreneurial opportunities with the inception of hydrogen vehicles and can bring about another revolution, making world a greener place.