Green Hydrogen

Article Title: Green Hydrogen


Environment & Ecology Current Affairs Analysis

Why is in news? Why green hydrogen presents both major opportunities and significant challenges

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced a Rs-496-crore (until 2025-26) scheme to support pilot projects that either test the viability of green hydrogen as a vehicle fuel or develop secure supporting infrastructure such as refuelling stations.

Big Indian commercial vehicle manufacturers such as Tata Motors, Volvo Eicher, and Ashok Leyland are doubling down on efforts to develop hydrogen-powered trucks and buses by ramping up research and development, and building manufacturing capacities.

Indian energy companies too are trying to scale up production of green hydrogen and bring down costs to make it affordable enough to compete with other fuels.

Hydrogen is expected to be used widely in the transportation sector in the coming years, and as a large and growing market for both vehicles and energy, India stands to gain significantly from the large-scale adoption of green hydrogen as vehicular fuel.

About the MNRE scheme:

The major objectives of the MNRE scheme, guidelines for which were issued in February, include -

- Validation of technical feasibility and performance of green hydrogen as a transportation fuel,

- Evaluation of the economic viability of green hydrogen-powered vehicles, and

- Demonstration of safe operation of hydrogen-powered vehicles and refuelling stations.

The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways will appoint a scheme implementation agency that will invite proposals for pilot projects. The selected company or consortium will be the project’s executing agency.

Based on the recommendation of a Project Appraisal Committee, the MNRE will approve viability gap funding (VGF) for the project.

The VGF amount will be finalised after considering “specific needs, merits, and feasibility of each project”.

The executing agency will be required to complete the pilot project within two years.

Green hydrogen:

Hydrogen is colourless, and green hydrogen is ‘green’ only by virtue of the way it is produced, and the source of the energy used to manufacture it.

Green hydrogen refers to hydrogen that is produced from the electrolysis of water — splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen — using an electrolyser powered by renewable energy.

This is considered to be a virtually emission-free pathway for hydrogen production — it is ‘end-to-end’ green because it is powered by green energy, uses water as feedstock, and emits no carbon on consumption.

Currently, most hydrogen produced for industrial consumption and applications is ‘grey’ hydrogen, which is produced from natural gas through energy-intensive processes, and has high carbon emissions.

Except for a difference in the production pathway and emissions, green hydrogen is essentially the same as grey — or hydrogen categorised by any other colour.

Green hydrogen promises significant reductions of emissions to help slow global warming and climate change.

India sees advantages ranging from curbing pollution and meeting its climate goals to reducing costly fossil fuel imports, as well as a business opportunity to become a global hub for the production and export of green hydrogen.

Types of Hydrogen: