Hydrogen Energy Technologies are ESSENTIAL for Sri Lanka!
Posted on October 4th, 2012

By Ananda-USA

October 04, 2012

I have been advocating Hydrogen Energy Technology for many years as an important aspect of achieving of Energy Independence for Sri Lanka at this forum and elsewhere, and I am pleased that the Government of Sri Lanka is taking the initiative to explore Hydrogen Energy Technology for transportation. 

However, Hydrogen Energy Technologies should be viewed more broadly as a GENERAL SOLUTION to meeting all of Sri Lanka’s energy needs …. as I explain below.

Hydrogen gas can be PRODUCED by electrolysis of water using time-varying renewable energies such as solar, wind, or excess hydro power. In the future, if Sri Lanka acquires nuclear power plants, electricity produced by these nuclear plants, and  even conventional fossil-fueled plants, can be used during off-peak hours to produce hydrogen, as a part of maximizing power plant utilization. 

The hydrogen thus produced can be STORED in tanks in a variety of forms: as a compressed gas, a gas adsorbed on certain metal hydrides from which the hydrogen can be released very simply by mild heating, or as a cryogenic liquid. 

The hydrogen thus produced can be UTILIZED to fuel transportation vehicles having on-board storage tanks and fuel-cell power units and can be dispensed from local gas refueling stations. Alternatively, the hydrogen can be used to produce electricity in large fuel-cell plants co-located with the electrolysis plants at conventional electric power generating plants. Existing electricity production plants are very convenient for co-locating hydrogen plants because the high-voltage power transmission lines and switch yard infrastructure necessary for tapping into the electricity distribution grid already exist at such plants. 

Furthermore, use of  hydrogen as an energy storage medium solves the so-called LOAD-LEVELLING problem that LIMITS the amount of time-varying renewable energies that can be fed into the existing power grid served by conventional “base-load” power plants.  To preserve the stability of the power grid, this amount can be only a small fraction of the base energy generating capacity.  With hydrogen energy storage available for storing the time-varying renewable energy at whatever time it is produced, the stability of the grid can be preserved, without having to increase the installed capacity of conventional power plants. Hydrogen production and storage will enable generating plants to run near maximum capacity at all times with the excess above the electricity demand used to produce and store energy in the form of hydrogen, thus maximizing plant utilization.

Finally, both the production of hydrogen by electrolysis of water, and the generation of electricity  by consuming that hydrogen in fuel cells, is POLLUTION-FREE, and does not produce any global warming gases, or result in a net consumption of water. When these environmental benefits are combined with the potential of hydrogen technologies to utilize indigenously produced energy by replacing imported fossil fuels, improve the nation’s balance of payments, reduce power plant costs, and enhance the rate of return by maximizing plant utilization, there is no doubt that deploying hydrogen energy technology is a win-win strategy for Sri Lanka.  In a world competing fiercely for fossil fuels, this will prove to be an increasing sound strategy in the future.

If Sri Lanka is to grow economically, then we must have a plentiful supply of inexpensive indigenously produced energy, that cannot be held hostage to events in foreign countries. Hydrogen energy technologies … in all their forms …. are the solution to Sri Lanka’s energy needs, and the need for energy security as a sovereign nation. As we develop our infrastructure in post- war Sri Lanka and progress towards becoming the New Wonder of Asia,  let us adopt and invest our precious capital in the best energy technologies that will serve the nation’s long-term interest. As a country that is making  MAJOR INVESTMENTS in NEW INFRASTRUCTURE, Sri Lanka has a UNIQUE OPPORTUNITYnow  to seize the initiative and lead the world in the deployment of a sustainable cost-effective non-polluting energy strategy.
I applaud the initiatives now being taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to firmly embed Hydrogen Energy Technologies in Sri Lanka’s overall energy strategy.

Jayawewa, Sri Lanka!

4 Responses to “Hydrogen Energy Technologies are ESSENTIAL for Sri Lanka!”

  1. nandimitra Says:

    As much as pure energy is needed nothing is with out side effects. What is necessary is a complete review of our energy needs cut away the unnecessary and concentrate to establish a balanced life style with minimum energy needs. Sri Lanka cannot afford to live with a assumption that energy is cheap. When I was a child hardly any house in colombo had fans or air conditioning, Now it is difficult to find a house with out a fan or air conditioning in colombo. The day the price of energy becomes unaffordable no one will be able to live in colombo. This is reality, a factor that eludes the ruling classes who is destroying the country adopting the western concepts of development.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Nandimitra,

    I strongly agree with you that Energy Conservation, in all areas of private, government and commercial energy use, should be an important component of the overall energy strategy.

    However, given that Sri Lanka is a developing nation attempting to raise the standard of living of its people, the per capita energy consumption will inevitably increase to much higher levels than at present. Indeed, in developed countries where market forces act efficiently to penalize waste of energy, the per capita consumption of energy serves as an accurate measure not only of the strength of their economies, but also of the quality of life enjoyed by their citizens.

    Therefore, if we desire to provide for a better life for all Sri Lankan citizens, we must develop and implement strategies

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    Nandimitra,

    I strongly agree with you that Energy Conservation, in all areas of private, government, and commercial energy use, should be an important component of the overall energy strategy.

    However, given that Sri Lanka is a developing nation attempting to raise the standard of living of its people, the per capita energy consumption will inevitably increase to much higher levels than at present.

    Indeed, in developed countries, where market forces act efficiently to penalize waste of energy, the per capita consumption of energy serves as an accurate measure not only of the strength of their economies, but also of the quality of life enjoyed by their citizens.

    Therefore, if we desire to provide for a better life for all Sri Lankan citizens in an egalitarian society, we must anticipate and provide for increased energy use, in ways that conserve energy, minimize environmental impact, assure national energy security, and enable affordable universal access to energy for all citizens.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sri Lanka’s over reliance on hydro power is likely to cause recurring electrical power supply crises, especially as global climate changes alter traditional rainfall patterns.

    The situation is aggravated by periodic droughts that make the water in reservoirs too precious to use for power generation, and demand reallocation to higher priority uses such as drinking and agricultural irrigation.

    The prices of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal) required for power generation and/or transportation uses are soaring beyond our reach in world markets, while we are being simultaneously constrained from purchasing oil at discount from our traditional oil suppliers, such as Iran.

    Meanwhile, the GOSL/CEB is forced to limit wind and solar power fed into the national power grid to 300 MW; about 10% of the total generating capacity supplying the grid. Any further increase of fluctuating renewable energy fed into the grid would destabilize it and cause power outages. In short, we cannot generate and use more renewable energy without first increasing the installed capacity of conventional power plants supplying on-demand power. These use costly imported fossil fuels.

    It is in this context, that Hydrogen Energy Storage and Use Technology strategy, that I had summarized in the article above, is ESSENTIAL for Sri Lanka to implement.

    Such a strategy would 1. REDUCE dependence of unaffordable imported fossil fuels by replacing imported fuels with a RENEWABLE INDIGENOUS NONPOLLUTING form of energy that can be used for fueling transportation vehicles and electricity generation, 2. REMOVE THE LIMIT on the FLUCTUATING RENEWABLE ENERGY that can be fed into the grid by storing that energy in the stored hydrogen, and 3. RELIEVE the pressure on the WATER RESOURCES of the hydropower reservoirs during periodic droughts, when the water is urgently needed for drinking and agricultural uses.

    ………………..
    Sri Lanka power sector in crisis again

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Oct 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka warned today that the power sector of the country might face a very difficult situation unless rains are received by next week.

    He said that the hydropower areas lack rains for the fourth consecutive season as the inter-monsoonal rains expected from mid-September did not fall.

    The Minister said that the hopes are on the northeastern monsoons now. The dry zone areas of the country are experiencing a shortage of drinking water as well now.

    He added that the daily loss of the Ceylon Electricity Board has gone up to Rs. 200 million a day due to increase of production of thermal energy. He said that the government expects the corporation of the electricity customers to paddle through the difficult situation.

    ……………………..
    Water from Sri Lanka’s Mahaweli reservoirs released only for drinking

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Oct 04, Colombo: The Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka says that water in the reservoirs under the Mahaweli scheme are now being released only for drinking purposes.

    The Authority had made the decision taking into consideration the critical water levels at the main reservoirs.

    Director General of the Mahaweli Authority Gamini Rajakaruna has told the media that the water level at the Victoria Reservoir was down to just 6.3 percent of its capacity.

    The water level at the Randenigala Reservoir is at 9.5 percent of capacity while the Kotmale Reservoir is at 33 percent.

    The Authority is also facing a dilemma over providing water for the cultivation of the next Maha season.

    The low water levels has made it impossible to release water for cultivation purposes since priority has to be given to the provision of drinking water to the dry zone.

    The districts of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Puttalam and Hambantota have been badly hit by the drought weather conditions.

    The agriculture sector in the dry zone has been suffering due to the drought for the past few months and Sri Lanka’s Central Bank lowered country’s economic growth forecast due to the prolonged drought.

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