Context: India’s green hydrogen move may worsen pollution if steps are not in place, says study.
- It also referred to as ‘Clean hydrogen’ is produced by splitting water into two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen (electrolysis process) atom using clean energy from surplus renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power.
- Green hydrogen could be a critical enabler of the global transition to sustainable energy and net zero emissions economies.
Green Hydrogen Standard
- Green Hydrogen shall mean Hydrogen produced using renewable energy, including production through electrolysis or conversion of biomass. Renewable energy also includes such electricity generated from renewable sources which is stored in an energy storage system or banked with grid in accordance with applicable regulations.
- Green Hydrogen produced through electrolysis: Non-biogenic greenhouse gas emissions arising from water treatment, electrolysis, gas purification and drying and compression of hydrogen shall not be greater than 2 kg of CO2 equivalent per kg of Hydrogen, taken as an average over last 12-month period.
- Green Hydrogen produced through conversion of biomass: Non-biogenic greenhouse gas emissions arising from biomass processing, heat/steam generation, conversion of biomass to hydrogen, gas purification and drying and compression of hydrogen shall not be greater than 2 kg of CO2 equivalent per kg of Hydrogen taken as an average over last 12-month period.
- Bureau of Energy Efficiency shall be the Nodal Authority for accreditation of agencies for monitoring, verification, and certification of Green Hydrogen production projects.
- A detailed methodology for measurement, reporting, monitoring, on-site verification and certification of green hydrogen and its derivatives shall be specified by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.
National Green Hydrogen Mission
Objective- “To make India the Global Hub for production, usage and export of Green Hydrogen and its derivatives.”
- This will contribute to India’s aim to become Aatmanirbhar through clean energy and serve as an inspiration for the global Clean Energy Transition.
- The Mission will lead to significant decarbonization of the economy, reduced dependence on fossil fuel imports, and enable India to assume technology and market leadership in Green Hydrogen.”
Key component of the mission
The achievement of Mission objectives requires a comprehensive strategy that coordinates efforts across multiple sectors.
The Mission strategy accordingly comprises interventions for:
- Demand creation by making Green Hydrogen produced in India competitive for exports and
through domestic consumption.
- Addressing supply side constraints through an incentive framework.
- Building an enabling ecosystem to support scaling and development.
Challenges in Green Hydrogen development
- Renewable energy supply crunch: India’s National Green Hydrogen Mission, piloted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) expects to manufacture five million tons by 2030. This would require the installation of renewable energy capacity worth 125 GW (1 GW is 1,000 megawatts) and the use of 250,000 gigawatt-hr. units of power, equivalent to about 13% of India’s present electricity generation. However, the present renewable energy capacity is 179 GW only (July 2023).
- Relying on conventional energy sources: -The main concern is that if electrolysers, which split water to produce hydrogen and oxygen, were run 24×7, they would be expected to operate even at night when no solar power is available. This would then mean tapping into conventional coal-fired electricity (about 70% of the electricity on the grid is coal-generated).
- Burning Biomass: -Another challenge is that India’s standards allow the use of biomass — which also results in carbon emissions when burnt — to produce green hydrogen.
- Technology: It is a rich source of energy, but the challenge is to compress or liquify it. It needs to be kept at a stable minus 253°C (far below the temperature of (-) 163°C at which Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is stored; making its ‘prior to use cost’ extremely high.
- Prohibitive Costs: The ‘production cost’ of ‘Green hydrogen’ has been a prime obstacle. Research conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) indicates that, the cost of its production is about $1.5 per kg by 2030 (for countries with eternal sunshine and huge unoccupied area) if several conservative measures are implemented.
- Lack of Manufacturing and deployment of electrolysers: It will have to increase at an unprecedented rate by 2050 from the current capacity of 0.3 gigawatts to almost 5,000 gigawatts.
- High cost of Storage system: Fuel cells which convert hydrogen fuel to usable energy for cars, are still expensive.
- Poor Infrastructure: The hydrogen station infrastructure needed to refuel hydrogen fuel cell cars is still widely underdeveloped.
- A massive investment in R&D and infrastructure for hydrogen production
- Investment in storage and transportation infrastructure and demand development.
- Incentives for investment in this sector.
- Mainstreaming other uses of hydrogen such as fuel cells, HCNG etc.
- Accelerating the production of renewable energy as per the Paris Target. i.e., 500GW by 2030.