Green Hydrogen – The Fuel of the Future

Synopsis Green hydrogen is becoming a new alternative to fossil fuel. Currently, many countries are taking steps to move towards a hydrogen economy.

  • Hydrogen is an energy carrier. It is converted into electricity by fuel cells, which generate electricity by mixing hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
  • It will play an important role in delivering zero-emission transport. The pathway to use hydrogen economy includes hydrogen production, storage, transport, and utilization.
Importance of Hydrogen as a fuel
  1. Environment friendly- Hydrogen is a clean fuel that, when consumed in a fuel cell, releases only water as a by-product. Due to their high efficiency and zero-or near zero-emissions operation, hydrogen has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emission.
  2. Readily available –It is a basic earth element and is very abundant, but challenging to separate hydrogen gas from its companion substances.
  3. Alternative to fuel – It produces three times more energy than other fossil fuels.
  4. Hydrogen as an Energy Storage System-
  5. Future’ fuel – Fossil fuels can no longer be used to meet the world’s energy needs.


  1. Cost – The greatest challenge for hydrogen production, particularly from renewable resources, is providing hydrogen at lower cost.
  2. Storage- Moving even small amounts of Hydrogen is a very expensive matter. For that reason alone, the transport and storage of such a substance looks impractical.
  3. External energy source is required to isolate hydrogen – It does not occur naturally as a gas on the Earth. It is always in combination with other elements such as water (H2O).
  4. Lesser production of green hydrogen – Around 120 tons of hydrogen are produced annually and less than one per cent is green hydrogen.
  5. Low production of Electrolysers – There is currently no major Indian manufacturer of Electrolysers [splits water into hydrogen and oxygen]. As a result, India is reportedly importing electrolysers, which makes the cost uneconomical.
  6. Limited technology for compressing and storing hydrogen for automobiles.

Initiative taken by different nations and global companies in field of green hydrogen-

  • European Union-
      • In June 2020, EU announced to install 40GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers. It will produce up to 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030.
  • Saudi Arabia-
      • Saudi Arabia is setting up a $5 billion solar and wind energy plant to produce green hydrogen. On completion the plant will be the world’s largest green hydrogen facility, producing 650 tons of green hydrogen.
  • India-
      • During Budget 2021-22, FM launches the National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM). The goal is to produce 175GW of green hydrogen by 2022. It has set aside Rs 1,500 crore for the mission.
  • 7 global companies launch Green Hydrogen catapult initiative-
      • World’s leading green hydrogen companies unite to drive 50-fold scale-up in six years. The New initiative aims to reduce costs to below $2 per Kg, to transform energy across most carbon intensive industries, speeding the race to zero emissions.
Way forward-
  • Green Hydrogen must be cost-competitive with conventional fuels. To reduce overall hydrogen cost, research must focus on improving technologies related to compressing and storing hydrogen for automobiles.
  • Electrolyser manufacturing and deployment must be scaled up from the current capacity of 0.3 GW to nearly 5,000 GW by 2050.
  • India should focus on pilot projects to get better understanding of the usage.

    Source – Down To Earth

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