Q. How is utilization of Green Hydrogen essential for meeting India's future energy demands and what are the critical challenges that India faces in the utilization of Green Hydrogen? (250 Words)
- Source: TH - Page 6/Editorial: Green hydrogen, a new ally for a zero carbon future
- GS 3: Environment, Energy.
Introduction: ‘Green hydrogen’ is a zero-carbon fuel made by electrolysis using renewable power from wind and solar to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. It can be utilised for the generation of power from natural sources — wind or solar systems — and will be a major step forward in achieving the target of ‘net zero’ emission.
Currently, India consumes around 5.5 million tonnes of hydrogen, primarily produced from imported fossil fuels. Currently India produces grey or blue hydrogen which use fossil fuels for it production. According to the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), green hydrogen demand could be up to 1 million tonnes in India by 2030.
Advantages of Green Hydrogen:
- High Fuel Efficiency: Hydrogen has an energy density almost three times that of diesel.
- Zero emission: ‘Green hydrogen’ produces ‘zero emission’ of carbon dioxide. Power generation by ‘net-zero’ emission will be the best solution to achieve the target of expert guidelines on global warming to remain under 1.5° C.
- Round the clock renewable power supply: For example Solar energy is produced only during the day, and wind power may not be produced during lean seasons. Storage of energy into Hydrogen fuel cells can smoothen the supply during lean period.
- Industrial application: From rockets in space technology to industrial manufacturing and metallurgical processes, apart from production of energy. It has application in sectors such as ammonia, steel, methanol, transport and energy storage.
- Less Air Pollution: in 2018, 8.7 million people died prematurely as result of air pollution from fossil fuels around the Globe.
- Offset high power Demand: The global population is growing at a rate of 1.1%, adding about 83 million human heads every year on the planet. As a result, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts the additional power demand to be to the tune of 25%-30% by the year 2040.
- Utilization of Idle land-beds: For example, India can utilize Thar and Kutchh as the production centres for Hydrogen fuel for whole of Indian Economy.
Challenges in the utilization of Green Hydrogen:
- Technological Challenge: Creating front end hydrogen fuel cell technology, converting hydrogen from wind or solar sources.
- Logistical Challenge: Challenge is to compress or liquefy the LH2 (liquid hydrogen); it needs to be kept at a stable minus 253° C entailing its ‘prior to use exorbitant cost’.
- Economical sustainability: According to studies by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA), the production cost of this ‘green source of energy’ is expected to be around $1.5 per kilogram (for nations having perpetual sunshine and vast unused land), by the year 2030; by adopting various conservative measures.
- Maintenance costs for fuel cells post-completion of a plant can be high.
- Investment in R&D: The commercial usage of hydrogen as a fuel and in industries requires mammoth investment in R&D of such technology and infrastructure for production, storage, transportation and demand creation for hydrogen.
- Training of Manpower: India would require to train an army of workers, who are well versed in handling and maintaining the new technology.
Conclusion: India has been focusing on boosting Hydrogen production with the help of various initiatives such as National Hydrogen Energy Mission which aims to produce Hydrogen from green energy sources. The Indian Railways have announced the country’s first experiment of a hydrogen-fuel cell technology-based train by retrofitting an existing diesel engine.
Further Indian corporates too are looking to tap into the perceived opportunities. For example, Reliance Industries have decided to reduce cost of Hydrogen production to $1/kg by 2030. This paints a bright future in this regard.