Daily Answer Writing
22 April 2021

QUE) Strengthening supply chains would be necessary to boost Hydrogen production in India. Examine-in the context of the National Hydrogen Energy Mission. (150 Words)
Source <https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/a-fresh-push-for-green-hydrogen/article34379481.ece>
GS 3: Environment, Energy

Approach Answer:


Introduction: The  National Hydrogen Energy Mission aims to produce Hydrogen from green energy sources. Currently, India consumes around 5.5 million tonnes of hydrogen, primarily produced from imported fossil fuels. It has application in sectors such as ammonia, steel, methanol, transport and energy storage. Currently India produces grey or blue hydrogen which use fossil fuels for it production. Green Hydrogen uses renewable energy sources.

However, several challenges in scaling up to commercial-scale operations persist.


Key challenges in utilization of Green Hydrogen energy:

              • Economic sustainability of extracting green hydrogen.

              • Technological Challenge: Creating front end hydrogen fuel cell technology, converting hydrogen from wind or solar sources.

              • Maintenance costs for fuel cells post-completion of a plant can be costly.

              • Logistic challenge: 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.

Thus creating better supply chains is the biggest challenge for boosting sustainable Green Hydrogen production in India. For this the Union Budget of 2021-22 has announced the National Hydrogen Energy Mission.


Possible direction for National Hydrogen Energy Mission to strengthen supply chains:

              1. Decentralised hydrogen production: through open access of renewable power to an electrolyser, to reduce the logistics cost of transportation (which splits water to form H2 and O2 using electricity).

              2. Ensuring access to round-the-clock renewable power: To minimise intermittency associated with renewable energy. Otherwise a green hydrogen facility will typically oversize the electrolyser, and store hydrogen to ensure continuous hydrogen supply.

              3. Blend green hydrogen in existing processes: especially the industrial sector. Improving the reliability of hydrogen supply by augmenting green hydrogen with conventionally produced hydrogen will significantly improve the economics of the fuel.

              4. Facilitate investments in early-stage piloting and the research and development needed to advance the technology for use in India. Public funding will have to lead the way.

              5. Focus on Self-reliance: Measures extending beyond the existing performance-linked incentive programme. India needs to secure supplies of raw materials that are needed for this technology.

              6. Investment in Research: Major institutions like the DRDO, BARC and CSIR laboratories have been developing electrolyser and fuel-cell technologies. There is a need for a manufacturing strategy that can leverage the existing strengths and mitigate threats by integrating with the global value chain.


Conclusion: According to the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), green hydrogen demand could be up to 1 million tonnes in India by 2030. It shall be important to achieve lead in such an emerging new technology which can be used as an important store of intermittent renewable energy, securing India's ambitious chemical energy sector as well as the power sector.

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