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National Hydrogen Mission

Posted on : 31 Aug 2021

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The Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi recently announced the launch of the National Hydrogen Mission on India’s 75th Independence Day during his Independence speech from the Red Fort.

Key Points:

  • The Mission aims to aid the government in meeting its climate targets and making India a green hydrogen hub.

  • This mission was announced in the backdrop of India spending Rs 12 trillion annually to meet its energy needs.

  • India, at present imports 85% of its oil and 53% of its gas demand.

  • It is expected to increase to 11.7 million tonnes (mt) by 2029-30.

What is National Hydrogen Mission?

  • The National Hydrogen Mission was proposed in the Union Budget 2021.

  • This mission was proposed to harness the potential of hydrogen in the energy area and enable generating hydrogen from green power sources.

  • The mission seeks to focus deeply on the generation of green hydrogen which is extracted from clean and green power sources and enable its commercial viability as a transportation fuel.

  • Green hydrogen energy is vital for India to meet its Nationally Determined Contributions.

  • It is a clean-burning molecule, which can decarbonise a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation.

  • The initiative has the potential of transforming transportation.

Major Activities to be carried out under the Mission:

  • Creating volumes and infrastructure

  • Demonstrations in niche applications

  • Goal-oriented Research & Development

  • Facilitative policy support

  • A robust framework for standards

  • Regulations for hydrogen technologies

About Hydrogen:

  • Hydrogen is the lightest and first element on the periodic table.

  • Since the weight of hydrogen is less than air, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, H2.

  • At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a nontoxic, nonmetallic, odourless, tasteless, colourless, and highly combustible diatomic gas.

  • It is used for industrial uses like petroleum refining, manufacturing of chemicals, steel, & ammonia fertilizers and aerospace applications.

What is Hydrogen Fuel?

  • Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel burned with oxygen.

  • It can not only be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines but it also is used as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.

  • It can be manufactured by the following processes:

Electrolysis:

  • Electrolysis of water by using direct current.

Natural Gas Reforming/Gasification:

  • Natural Gas on reaction with steam produces Synthesis gas.

  • Synthetic gas is a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and a small amount of carbon dioxide.

Fermentation:

  • Biomass is converted into sugar-rich feedstocks that can be fermented to produce hydrogen.

  • It is then stored after mixing or converting to ammonia or synthetic gas for easy liquefaction and transport.

Types of Hydrogen Fuel:

  • As per the World Energy Council (WEC), 96 percent of hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels through carbon-intensive processes

  • There are different types of hydrogen fuel. They are as follows:

Green Hydrogen:

  • Green hydrogen is extracted through the electrolysis of clean energy sources such as renewables.

  • This hydrogen type releases zero carbon (CO2) emissions but is expensive and commercially not viable yet.

  • The government is working on projects to produce green hydrogen.

Grey Hydrogen:

  • Not an expensive type but releases a lot of CO2 emissions as it is extracted through the burning of fossil fuels.

Blue Hydrogen:

  • The CO2 released during the production of hydrogen is trapped through carbon capture and storage (CCS) processes to turn grey hydrogen into blue hydrogen.

Brown Hydrogen:

  • Hydrogen is extracted through two methods for Industrial purposes, namely, gasification of coal or through steam methane reformation (SMR).

  • In SMR, methane from natural gas is heated with steam to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which is used as fuel.

  • However, these methods aren’t carbon-friendly and cause vast emissions of greenhouse gasses.

  • Hydrogen produced from this method is called as brown hydrogen.

Green Hydrogen Consumption Obligation (GHCO):

  • Government of India (GoI) has also planned to implement Green Hydrogen Consumption Obligation (GHCO) in fertilizer production and petroleum refining.

  • It is similar to renewable purchase obligations (RPO) that require electricity distribution companies to buy a fixed amount of renewable energy.

  • It helps to cut reliance on fossil fuels.

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