Cabinet Approves National Green Hydrogen Mission

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    Context

    • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved India’s Rs 20,000 cr National Green Hydrogen Mission (NGHM).  

    National Green Hydrogen Mission (NHM)

    • Genesis: 
      • NGHM is a part of National Hydrogen Mission (NHM) which was announced by the finance minister in the Union Budget 2021-22.
      • The Prime Minister of India also announced the National Hydrogen Mission on India’s 75th Independence Day. 
    • Objectives: 
      • To make India a global hub for the production and export of green hydrogen.
      • To harness green hydrogen energy to fulfill India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
    • Nodal Ministry
      • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) will formulate the scheme guidelines for implementation of the respective components.
    • Key Components:
      • The NGHM will facilitate demand creation, production, utilization and export of Green Hydrogen.  
      • The Mission will also support pilot projects in emerging end-use sectors and production pathways.  
      • An enabling policy framework will be developed to support establishment of the Green Hydrogen ecosystem
      • A public-private partnership framework for R&D will be facilitated under the Mission. R&D projects will be goal-oriented, time bound, and suitably scaled up to develop globally competitive technologies.  

    Significance/Intended outcomes of the NGHM by 2030

    • RE Capacity Enhancement: Development of green  hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonne) per annum.
    • An associated renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 GW in the country
    • Investment boost
    • Employment generation
    • Cumulative reduction in fossil fuel imports.
    • GHG Emission Reduction: Abatement of nearly 50 MMT of annual greenhouse gas emissions and help government in achievement the commitments made at COP 26

    What is Hydrogen?

    • About:
      • Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1. 
      • Hydrogen is the lightest element and the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, constituting roughly 75% of all normal matter.
      • It is colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic, and highly combustible.
      • Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel burned with oxygen. It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines and as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.
    • Extraction of Hydrogen:
      • Hydrogen exists in combination with other elements. 
      • Hence, for using it as a source of energy, it has to be extracted from naturally occurring compounds like water (which is a combination of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom). 
      • The sources and processes by which hydrogen is derived are categorised by different colours.

    Advantages of Green Hydrogen

    • Creation of export opportunities for Green Hydrogen and its derivatives
    • Decarbonisation of industrial, mobility and energy sectors
    • Self Reliance: Reduction in dependence on imported fossil fuels and feedstock
    • Make in India, for India: Development of indigenous manufacturing capabilities
    • Creation of employment opportunities
    • Development of cutting-edge technologies

    Possible Challenges in harnessing Green Hydrogen

    • Lack of fuel station infrastructure: India will need to compete with around 500 operational hydrogen stations in the world today which are mostly in Europe, followed by Japan and South Korea.
    • Energy-intensive nature of Hydrogen generation process:
      • The technology is in an infant stage and the energy requirement for splitting water or Methane is high. Besides, the whole process is costly at present.
    • High R&D requirement for the newer technology for making the process cheap and operational and scalable. 
    • Multiplicity of regulatory authorities: Involvement of multiple Ministries and Departments causes red tape in government functioning.
    • Risks associated with the transportation of hydrogen: Hydrogen in gaseous form is highly inflammable and difficult to transport, thereby making safety a primary concern.

    Case Studies:

    • Global:
    • Japan: Basic Hydrogen Strategy 2017 and plan to develop the international hydrogen supply chain by 2030.
    • South Korea: Hydrogen Economy Development and Safe Management of Hydrogen Act, 2020.
    • Indian:
    • Delhi: Hydrogen Spiked Compressed Natural Gas Buses (H-CNG) i.e. 18% blend of hydrogen with CNG (Plan to have 80% H-CNG buses by 2025)
    • NTPC Ltd is operating a pilot to run 10 hydrogen fuel cell-based electric buses and fuel cell electric cars in Leh and Delhi. 
    • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) issued a notification proposing amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 with safety evaluation standards for hydrogen fuel cell-based vehicles.

    Way Forward

    • NHM will ensure integration of India’s clean energy supply chains with that of the world
    • Inter Ministerial and departmental coordination necessary for the success of NHM
    • NHM will ensure realization of the goal of making India carbon neutral and global hub of clean hydrogen energy and will have multiplier effects on the $5 trillion economy.

    Source: IE