The Union Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy recently chaired a meeting regarding the use of Green Hydrogen in conjunction with other modes such as solar energy and wind energy, for round-the-clock renewable energy as envisaged in the National Green Hydrogen Mission.
GS III- Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is green hydrogen?
- Why is India pursuing green hydrogen?
- How much green hydrogen is India producing?
- Advantages of hydrogen as a fuel
- Green Hydrogen Disadvantages
What is green hydrogen?
- A colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic and highly combustible gaseous substance, hydrogen is the lightest, simplest and most abundant member of the family of chemical elements in the universe.
- But a colour — green — prefixed to it makes hydrogen the “fuel of the future”.
- The ‘green’ depends on how the electricity is generated to obtain the hydrogen, which does not emit greenhouse gas when burned.
- Green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis using renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind or hydel power.
- Hydrogen can be ‘grey’ and ‘blue’ too.
- Grey hydrogen is generated through fossil fuels such as coal and gas and currently accounts for 95% of the total production in South Asia.
- Blue hydrogen, too, is produced using electricity generated by burning fossil fuels but with technologies to prevent the carbon released in the process from entering the atmosphere.
Green Hydrogen Importance
- Hydrogen is being used across the United States, Russia, China, France and Germany. Countries like Japan desire to become a hydrogen economy in future.
- Green hydrogen can in future be used for
- Electricity and drinking water generation, energy storage, transportation etc.
- Green hydrogen can be used to provide water to the crew members in space stations.
- Energy storage- Compressed hydrogen tanks can store the energy longer and are easier to handle than lithium-ion batteries as they are lighter.
- Transport and mobility- Hydrogen can be used in heavy transport, aviation and maritime transport.
Why is India pursuing green hydrogen?
- Under the Paris Agreement (a legally binding international treaty on climate change with the goal of limiting global warming to below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels) of 2015, India is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 33-35% from the 2005 levels.
- At the 2021 Conference of Parties in Glasgow, India reiterated its commitment to move from a fossil and import-dependent economy to a net-zero economy by 2070.
- India’s average annual energy import bill is more than $100 billion and the increased consumption of fossil fuel has made the country a high carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter, accounting for nearly 7% of the global CO2 burden.
- In order to become energy independent by 2047, the government stressed the need to introduce green hydrogen as an alternative fuel that can make India the global hub and a major exporter of hydrogen.
- The National Hydrogen Mission was launched on August 15, 2021, with a view to cutting down carbon emissions and increasing the use of renewable sources of energy.
How much green hydrogen is India producing?
India has just begun to generate green hydrogen with the objective of raising non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts by 2030.
India’s first 99.99% pure green hydrogen pilot plant:
- Recently, the public sector OIL, which is headquartered in eastern Assam’s Duliajan, set up India’s first 99.99% pure green hydrogen pilot plant in keeping with the goal of “making the country ready for the pilot-scale production of hydrogen and its use in various applications” while “research and development efforts are ongoing for a reduction in the cost of production, storage and the transportation” of hydrogen.
- The plant was set up at the petroleum exploration major’s Jorhat pump station, also in eastern Assam.
- Powered by a 500 KW solar plant, the green hydrogen unit has an installed capacity to produce 10 kg of hydrogen per day and scale it up to 30 kg per day.
- A specialised blender has also been installed for blending green hydrogen produced from the unit with the natural gas supplied by the Assam Gas Corporation Limited and supplying the blended gas to the Jorhat area for domestic and industrial use.
Advantages of hydrogen as a fuel
- The intermittent nature of renewable energy, especially wind, leads to grid instability.
- Green hydrogen can be stored for long periods of time.
- The stored hydrogen can be used to produce electricity using fuel cells.
- In a fuel cell, a device that converts the energy of a chemical into electricity, hydrogen gas reacts with oxygen to produce electricity and water vapour.
- Hydrogen, thus, can act as an energy storage device and contribute to grid stability.
- Renewable developers see green hydrogen as an emerging market and some have targeted the transport sector, although electric vehicles have begun to catch the imagination of consumers today.
Green Hydrogen Disadvantages
- Renewable sources, which would be used to generate green hydrogen through electrolysis, are extremely expensive currently taking the cost of the whole production to sky heights.
- The production of green hydrogen requires more energy than other fuels.
- Green hydrogen is an extremely volatile and flammable element. It needs extensive safety measures to prevent leakage and explosions.
-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB