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Green Hydrogen

  • IASbaba
  • February 22, 2022
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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(Sansad TV: Perspective)


Feb 19: Green Hydrogen – https://youtu.be/7qIXFhB0nko 

TOPIC:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment; Government Budgeting

Green Hydrogen

In News: The government has unveiled the first part of the much-awaited National Hydrogen Policy. 

  • Government is targeting production of 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030. 
  • The policy allows free inter-state wheeling of renewable energy used in the production of green hydrogen and ammonia as it seeks to boost usage of the carbon-free fuel, and make India an export hub. 
  • It offers 25 years of free power transmission for any new renewable energy plants set up to supply power for green hydrogen production before July 2025. 
  • There will also be a single portal for all clearances required for setting up green hydrogen production as well as a facility for producers to bank any surplus renewable energy generated with discoms for upto 30 days and use it as required.

What is green hydrogen?

Green hydrogen is hydrogen gas produced through electrolysis of water — an energy intensive process for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen— using renewable power to achieve this.

Green hydrogen has specific advantages –

  • Environment Friendly: Green Hydrogen as energy source is seen as the next big thing as its usage would lead to zero emissions
  • Potential to Decarbonise various sectors: It is a clean burning molecule, which can decarbonise a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation. 
  • Efficient utilization of Renewable Energy: Renewable energy that cannot be stored or used by the grid can be channelled to produce hydrogen.
  • Reduced Dependence on Rare Minerals: Green Hydrogen also holds the key to clean electric mobility that doesn’t depend on rare minerals. Green Hydrogen helps achieve long-term vision of reduced dependency on minerals and rare-earth element-based battery as energy storage.
  • Helps Achieve Paris Goal: Green hydrogen energy is vital for India to meet its Nationally Determined Contributions and ensure regional and national energy security, access and availability
  • Energy Security: Green energy helps reduce import dependency on fossil fuels

How is the policy set to boost domestic production of green hydrogen production?

  • The new policy offers 25 years of free power transmission for any new renewable energy plants set up to supply power for green hydrogen production before July 2025. 
  • This means that a green hydrogen producer will be able to set up a solar power plant in Rajasthan to supply renewable energy to a green hydrogen plant in Assam and would not be required to pay any inter-state transmission charges. 
  • The move is likely going to make it more economical for key users of hydrogen and ammonia such as the oil refining, fertiliser and steel sectors to produce green hydrogen for their own use. These sectors currently use grey hydrogen or grey ammonia produced using natural gas or naphtha.

What are the incentives?

  • The government is set to provide a single portal for all clearances required for setting up green hydrogen production as well as a facility for producers to bank any surplus renewable energy generated with discoms for upto 30 days and use it as required.
  • Energy plants set up to produce green hydrogen/ammonia would be given connectivity to the grid on a priority basis.
  • Power distribution companies may also procure renewable energy to supply green hydrogen producers but will be required to do so at a concessional rate which will only include the cost of procurement, wheeling charges and a small margin as determined by the state commission, under the new policy. Such procurement would also count towards a state’s Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) under which it is required to procure a certain proportion of its requirements from renewable energy sources.

What are the facilities to boost export of green hydrogen and ammonia?

  • Under the policy port authorities will also provide land at applicable charges to green hydrogen and green ammonia producers to set up bunkers near ports for storage prior to export. 
  • Germany and Japan could be key markets for green hydrogen produced in India.

Challenges with regard to Hydrogen Fuel

  • Fuelling Infrastructure: A big barrier to the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has been a lack of fuelling station infrastructure — fuel cell cars refuel in a similar way to conventional cars, but can’t use the same station (only 500 in the world & that too in Europe, Japan, South Korea)
  • Safety is seen as a concern: Hydrogen is pressurised and stored in a cryogenic tank, from there it is fed to a lower-pressure cell and put through an electro-chemical reaction to generate electricity.
  • Scaling up the technology and achieving critical mass remains the big challenge. More vehicles on the road and more supporting infrastructure can lower costs. 

What next?

The government is set to come out with mandates requiring that the oil refining, fertiliser and steel sectors procure green hydrogen and green ammonia for a certain proportion of their requirements. The mandate for the refining sector could start at 15-20 per cent of the sectors total requirement.

Can you answer the following questions?

  • How will it benefit producers of green hydrogen? How will it boost India’s energy security? Discuss.
  • Will it help us achieve the net zero emission targets? Critically examine.

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