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Science & Technology
- GS 3 || Economy || Infrastructure || Power & Energy
Why in news?
Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology (Independent Charge), stated that India has the potential to become a worldwide Green Hydrogen powerhouse in the near future.
- The minister noted at the International Climate Summit 2021: ‘Powering India’s Hydrogen Eco System’ that the country’s undivided energies should be invested to achieve the goal of reducing emissions, which can only be achieved if we take a proactive approach.
- The theme “Powering India’s Hydrogen Ecosystem” is a forerunner to the 26th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will be held in Glasgow in November 2021.
What is Green Hydrogen?
- Green hydrogen is clean hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources such as sun and wind. Water and water vapor are the by-products.
- The electrolysis of water produces green hydrogen. Water, a large electrolyzer, and a lot of electricity are all you need to make a lot of hydrogen.
- The hydrogen is functionally green if the electricity comes from renewable sources like wind, solar, or hydro; the only carbon emissions in its manufacture will come from the generation infrastructure.
- Hydrogen Consumption: India utilizes roughly six million tonnes of hydrogen per year for the manufacturing of ammonia and methanol in the fertiliser and refinery industries.
- This figure might rise to 28 million tonnes by 2050, owing primarily to increased demand from industry, but also to the expansion of the transportation and power sectors.
- Green Hydrogen Cost: Green hydrogen is predicted to be competitive with hydrocarbon fuels by 2030. (Coal, Crude Oil, natural gas).
- As manufacturing and sales grow, the price will drop even further. India’s hydrogen demand is expected to grow fivefold by 2050, with 80 percent of it coming from renewable sources..
- Green Hydrogen Exporter: Due to its low renewable energy prices, India will become a net exporter of green hydrogen by 2030.
Why is green hydrogen so important for India?
- Lower energy costs: India imports more than 85% of its crude oil and 50% of its natural gas. It spends approximately $12 trillion on energy each year.
- Any savings realized as a result of lower energy imports as a result of the increased domestic generation of green hydrogen will be a boon.
- The precious foreign exchange savings might be used to build infrastructure, improve health, and educate children.
- It will also aid India’s achievement of the Paris Agreement’s nationally set contribution targets.
- Coal dependence: It also uses domestically mined coal and lignite to fuel thermal plants, which provide 65 percent of the country’s electricity.
- Future energy demand: In addition, energy demand will rise in lockstep with the country’s GDP. Green hydrogen will thus constitute a substantial component of renewable capacity, reducing India’s reliance on fossil fuels while also lowering its import expense.
Advantages of Green Hydrogen:
- Good storage material:Hydrogen may be a viable storage material for extra electricity generated from renewables, in addition to its usage in transportation. Solar and wind energy are sporadic, generating no electricity at times and producing a surplus at others. The excess can be utilized to electrolyze hydrogen and store it.
- Higher energy value: One kilogram of hydrogen has nearly three times the energy worth of one kilogram of diesel.
- Low-carbon footprint:Hydrogen is the most plentiful element and can be easily extracted by passing a current through water in a process known as electrolysis. When hydrogen recombines with oxygen, it produces electricity while emitting water. When electrolysis is carried out using renewable energy, the entire cycle is highly low-carbon and has a lower environmental impact than solar or wind energy.
- Less capital imports: Creating green hydrogen capacity may necessitate fewer capital equipment imports.
Challenge associated with it:
- Pressure on land: The provided energy can be less than 30% of the initial electrical input after converting electricity to hydrogen, delivering it, storing it, and then converting it back to electricity. As a result, we’ll need a lot more electricity from renewable sources, which will put a strain on the land.
- Cost is a concern: Depending on the cost of power, green hydrogen production costs between $3.5 and $6.5 per kilogram.
- Dedicated infrastructure: Steel pipes and welds become brittle and prone to breakdown as a result of dedicated infrastructure. As a result, bulk transportation of hydrogen will necessitate specialized pipes, which would be costly to construct, as well as pressurizing or cooling the gas to a liquid state.
- Issues with storage and transportation: While hydrogen has a higher energy density per unit of mass than natural gas, it has a lower energy density per unit of volume.
- As a result, massive containers are required to transport hydrogen. To make transportation easier, hydrogen can be converted to a liquid form.
- However, it must be cooled to minus 253 degrees Celsius before being reconverted, which would take a lot of energy.
- It can also be transformed to hydrogen-based fuels before being transported, but this requires more energy.
- Approximately 85% of today’s “green” hydrogen is produced “on-site” to avoid transportation issues.
- Electrolyzers are in short supply, which is one of the obstacles. Electrolysis is relatively expensive compared to more established industrial procedures, hence the market for electrolyzers has been modest.
- Hydrogen has restrictions in certain industries: Hydrogen can be used in a variety of industries, but it has limitations in others.
- The industrial sector is the most suitable (mainly steel, ammonia and refineries). Because it competes with batteries, its usage in transportation and electricity is limited.
- Because batteries have low energy-to-weight ratios and take a long time to charge compared to fuel cells, hydrogen can be employed in heavy-duty, long-distance transportation.
- Battery-powered vehicles are the most cost-effective solution for shorter distances. In the power sector, hydrogen is best used for storage. Inter-seasonal storage is appropriate for hydrogen-based storage.
- Similar to renewable purchase obligations, the Union government aims to adopt the green hydrogen consumption obligation (GHCO) in fertilizer production and petroleum refining.
- India intends to start bidding for 4 GW of electrolyzer capacity and extend the PLI scheme for manufacturing electrolyzers in the near future.
- The power ministry’s draft Electricity Rules, 2021, have permitted green hydrogen purchases to help fulfill RPOs.
- National Thermal Power Corporation Limited: A range of Indian firms, including NTPC Renewable Energy, have ventured into green hydrogen. The NTPC unit is setting up India’s largest solar park of 4.75 GW in Gujarat and plans to make green hydrogen there on a commercial scale. NTPC has also called bids for setting up a pilot project for mixing green hydrogen with natural gas for the city gas distribution network.
What can be for future?
- Fuel cell technology advancements: It is also reasonable to expect that fuel cell technology and storage solutions will advance to the point where hydrogen energy can be employed commercially for a number of uses.
- The government can help with policy: Solar and wind have seen dramatic cost reductions, and there’s no reason why hydrogen can’t do the same with the right legislative backing.
- It is necessary to promote competition: Entrepreneurs who want to create businesses in this new value chain must be able to raise the necessary funds.
- Scale-up green hydrogen: To do so, the government should prioritize research and development, assure continuous availability to renewable energy for decentralized hydrogen generation, and investigate blending green hydrogen into current processes, particularly in the industrial sector.
- To reduce the cost of electrolysers and make India a manufacturing centre, we must invest heavily in research and development.
- Aside from safety requirements, a lot of work will be required to establish standards for large-scale hydrogen use. The Hydrogen Mission, which was recently announced, is a positive move in the right direction.
Mains oriented question:
Green hydrogen is clean hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources such as sun and wind. Explain this in detail also write about its advantage. (200 words)