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INDIA AND HYDROGEN FUEL ECONOMY

SYLLABUS: GS MAINS PAPER 3

Recently, Prime Minister announced five key initiatives, the first being Mission Hydrogen. In upcoming years, India will be an energy independent country.

NATIONAL HYDROGEN ENERGY MISSION

1. The aim of mission is to make the country a global hub for the production and export of green hydrogen.

2. This mission will emphasize hydrogen from clean sources. It also intend to linking the country`s growing renewable energy capacity with the hydrogen economy.

3. India has set its goals to de-carbonize itself by 2050.

4. Its ambitious goal of 175GW of renewable energy capacity that was given impetus in the Union Budget 2021-2022 would also get to raise INR 1500 crore finance.

HYDROGEN AS A FUEL

1. Hydrogen is a clean source of alternate fuel and it will also reduce import dependency on fossil fuels.

2. It is a Zero-emission fuel.

3. It can be used in fuel cells that produces electrical energy through chemical reaction, the by-products is only water.

4. Hydrogen can be produced from a number of sources like biomass, natural gas, and other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy. So it is a good option as fuel for electricity generation and transport applications.

TYPES OF HYDROGEN

1. Green Hydrogen : It is generated from renewable resources of energy like solar and wind and not fossil fuels. Water and water vapour are by-products.

2. Grey Hydrogen : It constitutes India`s bulk production, extracted from hydrocarbons (natural gas, fossil fuels).It produces CO2 as a by-product.

3. Blue Hydrogen: It is sourced from fossil fuels. The by- products such as CO2 and CO are stored. It is better than grey hydrogen.

GLOBAL STATUS

1. The current global production of hydrogen of about 80 million tonnes. It is wholly produced through fossil fuels.

2. It uses 6% of global natural gas and 2% of coal, and contributes a 830 million tonnes of CO2. Thus, this route to hydrogen is a non-starter.

3. Major energy transition takes place globally towards renewables. This will be aided by emerging high carbon taxes, of which a major ‘adjustment import tax` has already been announced by European Union (EU).

4. Investment dollars are flowing into hydrogen all over the world.

5. The India government has committed Rs 800 crores between 2021 and 2024 towards pilot projects, R&D, and projects to bring down the cost of hydrogen production and push India towards a hydrogen future.

INDIA`S SCENARIO

1. In India, availability of natural elements and favourable geographical conditions, the country has a huge edge in effectively integration renewable energy sources into energy mix.

2. India has been working on a pilot project on Green Hydrogen, Blue Hydrogen and Hydrogen CNG (H-CNG).

3. Various programs are focusing to blend hydrogen with CNG for use as a transportation fuel as well as an industrial input to refineries.

4. Two hydrogen refueling stations have been set up:

i)  National Institute of Solar Energy

ii) Indian Oil R&D Centre, Faridabad

5. In India, IITs, Banaras Hindu University, IISc, council for Scientific and Industrial Research laboratories etc are exploring and addressing challenges in the production of hydrogen from renewable sources, safe storage, utilization etc.

CHALLENGES

1. The biggest challenge faced by the industry for using hydrogen commercially is the economic sustainability of extracting green or blue hydrogen.

The technology for producing green or blue hydrogen using hydrogen fuel cell technology and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is expensive.

2. Lack of Infrastructure: A big hurdle to the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has been a lack of fuelling stations.

There are fewer than 500 operational hydrogen stations globally.

3. Maintenance costs for fuel cells post completion of a plant can be costly.

4. Hydrogen has great explosion risk and it is highly combustible gas. In gaseous form, it is highly inflammable and difficult to transport. Safety is also a concern.

CONCLUSION

Hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements on the earth. It is the only source of energy that only emits water vapour and leaves no residue in the air. Due to these benefits, hydrogen is being seen as the biggest source of clean energy fuel in the near future.

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