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What are the Challenges of Adopting Green Hydrogen Technology?

Jan 06, 2023

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Enhance your UPSC CSE preparation with our daily dose of Current Affairs wherein we discuss topics that make news at National and International level. In today's edition of our Current Affairs, we will discuss Challenges of Adopting Green Hydrogen Technology. The topic's relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus is mentioned below. For Prelims: Governance, General Science Green Hydrogen Mission (GHM), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Decarbonization, End-use sectors, Grey Hydrogen, Blue Hydrogen, Green Hydrogen. For Mains: GS Paper II- Government Policies and Interventions &GS Paper III- Conservation, Growth and Development About Green Hydrogen Mission (GHM), Implementation of Green Hydrogen Mission, Aim of Green Hydrogen Mission, Significance of Green Hydrogen Mission, Potential of Green hydrogen.

Context

Recently the Indian government has formally approved the National Green Hydrogen Mission which is aimed at making India the global hub for the production of green hydrogen.

Probable Question

What is green hydrogen? Discuss the advantages and challenges associated with the leveraging of hydrogen technology. (250 words, 15 marks)

About Green Hydrogen Mission (GHM)

Aim of Green Hydrogen Mission

  • The creation of export opportunities for green hydrogen and its derivatives; 
  • Decarbonisation of the energy sector and use in mobility applications in a bid to lower the dependence on imported fossil fuels; 
  • The development of indigenous manufacturing capacities.
  • The mission seeks to promote the development of a green hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonnes) per annum with an associated renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 GW in the country by 2030.
Also Read: Nuclear Fusion Energy Mineral and Energy Resources of India 

Implementation of Green Hydrogen Mission

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) will formulate the scheme guidelines for implementation.
  • An enabling policy framework will be developed to support the establishment of the green hydrogen ecosystem
  • A robust standards and regulations framework will also be developed.
  • Further, a public-private partnership framework for R&D (Strategic Hydrogen Innovation Partnership - SHIP) will be facilitated under the mission. 
  • R&D projects will be goal-oriented, time-bound, and suitably scaled up to develop globally competitive technologies. 
  • A coordinated skill development program will also be undertaken.
Also Read: State Energy and Climate Index

Significance of Green Hydrogen Mission

  • Creation of export opportunities for green hydrogen and its derivatives.
  • Decarbonization of industrial, mobility, and energy sectors.
  • Reduction of over ₹1 lakh crore cost on imported fossil fuels and feedstock.
  • Reduction of nearly 50 MMT of annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
  • Developing indigenous manufacturing capabilities; 
  • Creation of over 6 lakh jobs by 2030 employment opportunities; 
  • Development of cutting-edge technologies.
  • Facilitation of demand creation, production, utilization, and export of green hydrogen. 
  • Support to pilot projects in emerging end-use sectors and production pathways. 

Facts about Hydrogen

  • Hydrogen, the most common element in nature, exists only in combination with other elements.
  • It has to be extracted from naturally occurring compounds like water (which is a combination of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom). 
  • Hydrogen Colour Tabs: It is the categorization on the basis of sources and processes by which hydrogen is derived, such as:
(a) Grey Hydrogen: It is hydrogen produced from fossil fuels. Grey hydrogen constitutes the bulk of the hydrogen generated today.  (b) Blue Hydrogen: It is hydrogen generated from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage options. (c) Green Hydrogen: Hydrogen is made by splitting water through an electrical process called electrolysis using electrolyzers, a device which is powered by renewable power sources.

Green Hydrogen Potential

Advantages

  • It is a clean burning molecule that can decarbonize a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation. 
  • Renewable energy that cannot be stored or used by the grid can be channeled to produce hydrogen.
  • Green hydrogen could eventually potentially replace fossil fuels and fossil fuel-based feedstocks in fertilizer production, petroleum refining, steel production, and transport applications.

Backdrop

  • Green hydrogen is not commercially viable at present. 
  • The current cost in India needs to be reduced to become cost-competitive. This is what the Hydrogen Energy Mission aims for.
  • The draft Mission document is likely to propose support for the production and deployment of green hydrogen, alongside a major push for hydrogen in the auto sector, R&D for fuel cell development, and pilot projects for fuel cell vehicles.

Auto Sector, Fuel Cells

  • Hydrogen is an energy carrier, not a source of energy. Thus to transform it into electricity, a device called a fuel cell stack can be used to power a car or truck.
  • A fuel cell converts chemical energy into electrical energy using oxidizing agents through an oxidation-reduction reaction. 
  • Fuel cell-based vehicles are considered electric vehicles (EVs), as they most commonly combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity to power the electric motor on board.

Use Cases in India

  • India’s electricity grid are predominantly coal-based and will continue to be so, thus negating collateral benefits from a major EV push.
  • Hydrogen vehicles can be especially effective in long-haul trucking and other hard-to-electrify sectors such as shipping and long-haul air travel. 
  • Using heavy batteries in these applications would be counterproductive, especially for countries such as India, where the electricity grid is predominantly coal-fired.
  • The main source of energy generation in the last decade is primarily renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, this can be diverted for green hydrogen production during non-peak hours.
  • US-based Ohmium International has commissioned India’s first green-hydrogen factory in Karnataka.
News Source: The Indian Express: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/indias-green-hydrogen-push-national-green-hydrogen-mission-8361850/ If you want to enhance your exam preparation and crack the UPSC CSE examination, download the PrepLadder app and get access to the finest study material curated by India’s top UPSC faculty. You can also join our Telegram channel for UPSC coaching and to stay updated with the latest information about the UPSC exam.

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