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
- 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.
- Readily available –It is a basic earth element and is very abundant, but challenging to separate hydrogen gas from its companion substances.
- Alternative to fuel – It produces three times more energy than other fossil fuels.
- Hydrogen as an Energy Storage System-
- Future’ fuel – Fossil fuels can no longer be used to meet the world’s energy needs.
- Cost – The greatest challenge for hydrogen production, particularly from renewable resources, is providing hydrogen at lower cost.
- 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.
- 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).
- Lesser production of green hydrogen – Around 120 tons of hydrogen are produced annually and less than one per cent is green hydrogen.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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