Green hydrogen makes a debut

News: Recently India has initiated many green hydrogen initiatives like National Hydrogen Mission and aims to make India a global hub for green hydrogen production and export.

Must read: Green Hydrogen: Potential, Issues and Solutions – Explained, pointwise
How to produce Hydrogen?

Hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements, but it cannot be sourced from the atmosphere, since it is lighter than air. So, it has to be separated from other compounds like water. There are two most common ways to do that.

1. Steam Methane Reforming (SMR): It is less expensive, the process produces greenhouse gas emissions that defeat the main purpose of opting for hydrogen in the first place. Currently, 90% of global hydrogen production uses SMR.

2. Electrolysis or water-splitting: It involves passing electricity through water to separate it into basic elements, hydrogen and oxygen.

Electrolysis is an energy-intensive process. About 50 units of electricity is required to produce a kilogram of hydrogen, not counting the energy costs of the total plant system as well as for storage and transportation.

So, using fossil fuels to produce electricity will not make it “renewable”. But if electricity is produced from renewable sources, then it is called as Green Hydrogen.

Note: Hydrogen gas has a chameleon-like character depending on its method of production. For instance,

  • Grey Hydrogen – If produced using fossil fuels,
  • Blue Hydrogen – If produced using fossil fuels but with carbon capture,
  • Green Hydrogen – If produced using renewable energy,
  • Pink Hydrogen – If produced using electrolysis powered by nuclear energy,
  • More niche definitions go on to add brown, black, turquoise, and yellow variants of hydrogen.
What are the other initiatives to boost Green Hydrogen?

1. Reliance industries announced that they would set up fuel-cell and electrolyser factories to produce green hydrogen. 2. Recently, the Adani group announced its intention to set up one of the largest green hydrogen projects in the world, 3. Indian Oil announced the setting up of the country’s first green hydrogen plant at its Mathura refinery, 4. NTPC announced plans for a green hydrogen fuelling station in Ladakh.

Must read: Green Energy Initiatives in Budget 2021- Explained

Globally, 120 mt (million tonnes) of hydrogen is produced annually. Only 1 per cent is green. The current annual demand for hydrogen in India is about 6 mt. It needs to go up ten times if net-zero targets are to be met. It promises to be a game-changer across industry, power and mobility; and of course, to meet the country’s decarbonisation goals.

Source: This post is based on the article “Green hydrogen makes a debut” published in Business Standard on 16th November 2021.

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