$2 billion incentive to the green hydrogen industry: Govt

In order to reduce emissions and become a major export player in the field, the government is planning a $2 billion incentive program for the green hydrogen industry.

What exactly is Green Hydrogen?

  • Green hydrogen is hydrogen gas created by the electrolysis of water.
  • It is an energy-intensive process that uses renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
  • Green hydrogen currently costs between $300 and $400 per kilogram in India.

Hydrogen Energy

  • In comparison to hydrocarbons, which have a net carbon content in the range of 75-85 percent, hydrogen is an important source of energy because it has zero carbon content and is a non-polluting source of energy.
  • Hydrogen energy is expected to cut carbon emissions, which are expected to increase by 1.5 billion tonnes by 2021.
  • It has the most energy by weight and the least amount of energy by volume.
  • According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), hydrogen will account for 6% of total energy consumption by 2050.
  • Hydrogen energy is still in its early stages of development, but it has significant potential to aid in the transition from hydrocarbons to renewables.

Why hydrogen?

  • Hydrogen is a non-toxic, nonmetallic, odorless, tasteless, colorless, and highly combustible diatomic gas at standard temperature and pressure.
  • When combined with oxygen, hydrogen fuel produces no emissions. It is suitable for use in fuel cells and internal combustion engines. It is also used as a propulsion fuel for spacecraft.
  • Hydrogen can be obtained from a variety of sources, including natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
  • Carbon reduction: India remains committed to environmental and climate causes, with a strong emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.
  • Diversification of our energy basket: This is the key lever that will enable this transition. That is why the arrival of hydrogen at the forefront is a welcome development.

How Hydrogen can be produced?

  • Commercial viability Hydrogen can be produced from hydrocarbons such as natural gas, oil, and coal using techniques such as steam methane reforming, partial oxidation, and coal gasification.
  • Water, sunlight, and wind can be converted into energy through electrolysis, photolysis, and other thermo-chemical processes.

How is green hydrogen can be produced?

  • Green hydrogen is typically generated from the water today via electrolysis, a process that uses an electric current to split water into its component molecules of hydrogen and oxygen.
  • This is accomplished with the help of an electrolyzer, which consists of a cathode and an anode (positively and negatively charged electrodes).
  • As a byproduct of this process, only oxygen – or steam – is produced.
  • To qualify as “green hydrogen,” the electricity used for electrolysis must be derived from renewable sources such as wind or solar energy.
  • Green hydrogen production is currently two to three times more expensive than blue hydrogen production.

How can it be used?

  • Hydrogen can be used in a variety of ways. It can either be burned to generate heat or fed into a fuel cell to generate electricity.
  • Fuel-cell Vehicles: Electric vehicles powered by hydrogen
  • Container ships propelled by hydrogen-based liquid ammonia
  • Green steel refineries use hydrogen as a heat source instead of coal.
  • Hydrogen-powered electricity turbines that can generate electricity during peak demand periods to help stabilize the power grid

Green Hydrogen Production Difficulties

  • The transition of India to a green hydrogen economy (GHE) is only possible if certain key issues are addressed.
  • Supply-Chain Issues: The creation of a supply chain, beginning with the manufacture of electrolyzers and ending with the production of green hydrogen using electricity from a renewable energy source, is critical to the success of GHE.
  • Green hydrogen requires larger-scale electrolyzers than have previously been seen.
  • Storage necessitates either extremely high pressures or extremely high temperatures, both of which present technical challenges.
  • Explosion Hazard: Because of its low ignition energy and high combustion energy, it is dangerous.
  • Risk of use: Although automotive fuels are highly flammable, a vehicle laden with hydrogen is more likely to be vulnerable in the event of a major accident.
  • High Production Costs: In order to be competitive, the price per kilogram of green hydrogen must be reduced to a benchmark of $2/kg. Green hydrogen can compete with natural gas at these prices.
  • Energy intensification: Creating green hydrogen requires a massive amount of electricity, which means a massive increase in wind and solar power to meet global targets.
  • Due to a lack of proper infrastructure, only 500 hydrogen stations exist worldwide. Only a few manufacturers are market participants in this technology.
  • Other issues include low user acceptance and social awareness. Creating after-sales support for hydrogen technology.

Policy and Economic Challenges

  • Economic sustainability: One of the most significant challenges that the industry faces in commercializing hydrogen is the economic sustainability of extracting green or blue hydrogen.
  • Technological challenges: The technology used in hydrogen production and use, such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and hydrogen fuel cell technology, is in its early stages.
  • Cost Factor: These technologies are expensive, which raises the cost of hydrogen production and necessitates significant investment, putting fiscal pressure on the government.
  • Higher maintenance costs: Fuel cell maintenance costs after a plant is completed can be expensive.
  • Legal and administrative compliance is required: certification mechanisms, recommendations, and regulations for various system components.

Way ahead

  • Hydrogen energy is still in its early stages of development, but it has significant potential for facilitating India’s energy transition.
  • The new policy is a vision for the future that can help the country not only reduce carbon emissions but also diversify its energy portfolio and reduce reliance on foreign sources.
  • India’s transition can serve as a model for the rest of the world in terms of achieving energy security without jeopardizing the goal of sustainable development.
  • The GoI must vigorously pursue the goal of establishing a GHE in order to establish India as a global manufacturing hub and to position itself at the top of the green hydrogen export market.
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