Hydrogen is for transportation and energy production because it is lighter than air. In addition, due to its chemical properties, hydrogen is an extremely strong and versatile chemical material with a wide range of applications requiring relatively low energy densities. The hydrogen fuel cell provides approximately 45% more energy density than current battery technology, allowing it to be taken directly from the sun rather than having it to be stored as a gas in a tank somewhere. This allows for more efficient use of renewable energy as well as reducing global warming. 

Hydrogen has tremendous potential as an energy source. With current technology, it could potentially be extracted from water using light and electrolysis processes, producing only harmless heat. This would vastly reduce the cost of producing electricity from Hydrogen than currently available renewable sources. Once extracted from water using electrolysis, Hydrogen could be utilized as a fuel in plants for making useful products such as plastics and disinfectants. On the other hand, Hydrogen can also be used as an energy source without needing any additional energy or radioactive material extracted from the earth. This allows it to compete with conventional sources of energy such as solar and wind power on an equal footing.

 Hydrogen production methods :

1. Renewable Energy 

Hydrogen is generated by electrolysis — splitting water into its components oxygen and hydrogen. It is also abundant in nature and can be created on Earth using sunlight. Hydrogen can be used to fuel almost all types of machines and automobiles, but only limited amounts are currently being produced on Earth. We can use hydrogen and vent the oxygen to the atmosphere with no negative impact. Hydrogen has the potential to achieve a lot of the same things that renewable energy is trying to do – reduce the costs of electricity, increase the efficiency of transportation, and make manufacturing more sustainable. About 2% of the global production of Hydrogen comes from renewable sources of energy.

2. Steam Methane Reforming

It can be produced on a commercial scale at a relatively low cost. Hydrogen energy can also be created domestically without chemical additives and can be harvested from abundance on Earth naturally. With these features combined with a relatively low price tag, hydrogen could become a highly reliable and affordable source of energy

Blue hydrogen is when natural gas is split into hydrogen and CO2 either by Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) or AutoThermal Reforming (ATR), but the CO2 is captured and then stored. As the greenhouse gasses are captured, this mitigates the environmental impacts on the planet. 

Petrofac Publication

Hydrogen Opportunities for a Green Economy

  1. NATIONAL HYDROGEN MISSION (NHM)

The Government of India has taken a front foot and the initiative to gear up towards this endeavour with more power than ever unlike the usual slow technological changes. One of the major initiatives for the clean energy sector the government announced in the Union Budget 2021, was the plan to launch a National Hydrogen Mission. 

All the aspects including R&D, Supply Chain, Demand generation and policy road map for using hydrogen as an energy source is covered under this plan. The main agenda of the plan is to increase the use of Hydrogen across the transportation and industry sectors. 

Some of the initiatives undertaken by the National Hydrogen Mission are as follows :

  • Funding MNRE for supporting R&D across production, gas transportation and storage 
  • A pilot project on Blue Hydrogen, Hydrogen CNG (H-CNG) and Green Hydrogen are already underway.
  • HCNG will be promoted as an intermittent technology for both automotive and domestic cooking applications. 
  • Hydrogen Fuel cell buses are already plying across selected cities and, PSU oriented initiatives are underway to increase the fleet size.
  • Surplus Blue hydrogen from refineries through the CCUS route will power the transportation sector and benefit the industry as well. 
  • Govt might plan to give a mandate to industries such as fertilizer, steel, petrochem, others for green hydrogen usage.

India is very well situated to create Green Hydrogen by utilizing its grounded inexhaustible resources and have the vision to expand the renewable share in the energy mix. 

Hydrogen Development in the Indian Market

  • BGR energy and Fusion Fuel Green signed an agreement around the development of green Hydrogen projects in India. The proposed plan focuses on selling Hydrogen as feedstock to industries. 
  • A statement of intent between Indian Oil and Greenstat Hydrogen India for developing a centre of excellence for promoting R&D projects in areas of Blue & green hydrogen 
  • Lhyfe Labs SAS of France and Acme Solar Holdings Ltd plans to join hands to develop Green hydrogen plans in India and Europe
  • Chart Industries, Reliance Industries to build a hydrogen supply chain in India. IH2A led by Reliance industries is seeking to work with the Indian government in five areas, the first of which is to develop a hydrogen policy and a 2021-30 roadmap 
  • Adani to Develop Green Hydrogen Projects in India, Partners With Maire Tecnimont 
  • Essar and Progressive Energy join forces to deliver the UK’s first low carbon hydrogen production hub 
  • Tata Steel, Nouryon and Port of Amsterdam Plan the Largest Green Hydrogen Cluster in Europe

Global Developments in the use of Hydrogen 

CHINA

  • Announced that the Ten Cities programme that launched battery electric vehicles in the People’s Republic of China would be replicated for hydrogen transport in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, among others. 
  • Announced that Wuhan will become the first Chinese Hydrogen City, with up to 100 fuel cell automakers and related enterprises and up to 300 filling stations by 2025. 
  • Announced targets of 5 000 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) by 2020 and recommitted to the 2015 target of 1 million FCEVs by 2030, plus 1 000 refuelling stations.

FRANCE

  • Unveiled a Hydrogen Deployment Plan and EUR 100 million funding and 2023 and 2028 targets for low-carbon hydrogen in industry, transport and renewable energy storage, including islands.

GERMANY

  • Supported the first commercial operation of a hydrogen-powered train, and the largest annual increase in refuelling stations in the country, through the H2 mobility programme.

USA 

  • California Fuel Cell Partnership outlined targets for 1000 hydrogen refuelling stations and 1 000 000 FCEVs by 2030, matching China’s targets.

Global commitments seem promising and, with a growing consensus on a clean economy, the momentum of Hydrogen will grow stronger than ever. 

Key drivers making Hydrogen the next big thing! 

  • Hydrogen technologies have experienced cycles of excessive expectations followed by disillusionment however recent improvements in their cost and performance point towards economic viability as well. 
  • Hydrogen is on the higher end of the pricing as compared to conventional sources of energy like in the case of solar costs. Solar cost drastically comes down with economies of scale. 
  • Increasing commitment towards climate change and growing share of renewable resources in the energy mix are very favourable developments that will form a foundation for a Green Hydrogen economy.
  • Globally many countries are committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050
  • A recent mandate by the supreme court to promote hydrogen-powered buses for public transport will enable investment in infrastructure 
  • India’s excessive dependency on imports for energy requires us to pursue every option and Hydrogen maturity is crucial considering its potential to reduce the import burden on the economy.

Hydrogen usage leading to Investment Opportunities

  • Hydrogen economy requires a well-developed infrastructure for storage, monitoring and distribution that eventually drives demand for special compressors and monitoring devices. 
  • Fueling stations and dispensers are critical products – enabling policies can attract private investments for fueling stations.  
  • Any momentum in green hydrogen will have a direct impact on renewable businesses like solar energy businesses. 
  • Opportunities for setting up independent plants to supply hydrogen to industrial units exist. 

Hydrogen possibilities are immense and it is perhaps the only route to substantially decarbonize the global economy With commitments from developing & developed nations intact on net-zero target, falling costs of renewable energy, policy interventions likely – Hydrogen is very much likely to play an important role in our future energy mix. 

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