BRICS Green Hydrogen Summit

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    NTPC Ltd, India’s largest energy integrated company under the Ministry of Power, anchored a two day workshop on Green Hydrogen for BRICS countries.

     

    About

    • Ministers of Power/ Energy from Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa participated in it.
    • India pitched for common international standards for green hydrogen at the Summit, to ensure safe transportation and storage of the new age emission-free fuel.
    • India fixated that Government and industry must work together to ensure existing regulations are not an unnecessary barrier to investment. 

     

    Significance of the Summit

    • Net-zero carbon emission: The BRICS countries are capable of ensuring that there is net-zero carbon emission since the cost of deployment of these emerging technologies in these countries is a fraction in comparison to that of other developed countries. The prevention of CO2 will have a worldwide positive impact.
    • Common vision of sustainable development: Strengthening energy cooperation and ensuring affordable, reliable, accessible and secure energy for all, has always been a strategic area of importance in the agenda of BRICS countries. Five BRICS countries share a common vision of sustainable development and inclusive economic growth.
    • Addresses Global Issues: Approximately 70 million metric tons of hydrogen are already produced globally every year for use in oil refining, ammonia production, steel manufacturing, chemical and fertilizer production, food processing, metallurgy, and more. Green hydrogen will be essential to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, since there are certain portions of the economy whose emissions are difficult to eliminate.
    • Increasing Role of India: India produces around 50 lakh tonnes of hydrogen annually and it’s expected that the country may see a green hydrogen demand of 16,000 tonne per annum by 2024 and 1 million tonnes by 2030.

     

    Green Hydrogen

    • Hydrogen energy is very versatile, as it can be used in gas or liquid form, and can be converted into electricity or fuel.
    • Green hydrogen gas is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyzer that may be powered by electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
    • The rapidly declining cost of renewable energy is one reason for the growing interest in green hydrogen.
    • Green Hydrogen is one of the most popular and demanding fields in the current times and considered to be the next carrier of energy.

     

    Image Courtesy: cedigaz

     

    Benefits of Green Hydrogen

    • Reducing Emissions: Energy efficiency, renewable power and direct electrification can reduce emissions from electricity production and a portion of transportation. Also, Green hydrogen can decarbonize aviation, shipping, long-distance trucking and concrete and steel manufacturing, sectors that require high energy density fuel or intense heat.
    • Meeting Energy Requirements: Green hydrogen can be used in industry and can be stored in existing gas pipelines to power household appliances. It can transport renewable energy when converted into a carrier such as ammonia, a zero-carbon fuel for shipping, for example.
    • Efficient hydrogen fuel cells: Because of its energy efficiency, a hydrogen fuel cell is two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine fueled by gas. And a fuel cell electric vehicle’s refueling time averages less than four minutes.

     

    Challenges

    • Highly Flammable: Its flammability and its lightness mean that hydrogen, like other fuels, needs to be properly handled. Compared to gasoline, natural gas, and propane, hydrogen is more flammable in the air. 
    • Lack of Infrastructure: Because hydrogen is so much less dense than gasoline, it is difficult to transport. It either needs to be cooled to -253?C to liquefy it, or it needs to be compressed to 700 times atmospheric pressure so it can be delivered as a compressed gas. There is not enough infrastructure to accommodate widespread use of hydrogen.
    • Requires modifications: To distribute pure hydrogen, natural gas pipelines would require major alterations to avoid potential embrittlement of the metal pipes, or completely separate hydrogen pipelines would need to be constructed.
    • Constraints in Fuel Cells: Fuel cell technology has been constrained by the high cost of fuel cells because platinum, which is expensive, is used at the anode and cathode as a catalyst to split hydrogen. A challenge for fuel cell electric vehicles has been how to store enough, to 13 kilograms of compressed hydrogen gas,in the vehicle to achieve the conventional driving range of 300 miles.

     

    India’s Initiatives

    • India has launched an ambitious National Hydrogen Mission to introduce hydrogen purchase obligations for fertilizers, refineries involving the private sector in a transparent and competitive manner to produce green hydrogen.
    • Hydrogen is also capable of aligning with the Ministry’s other flagship schemes, like the promotion of compressed biogas under the Sustainable Alternative for Affordable towards Transportation (SATAT) scheme or promoting the gas-based economy or other initiatives on Waste-to-Energy.
    • Such integration will impart much more flexibility and capacity utilization to the vast infrastructure available or being created in India.
    • The transition to a hydrogen economy will not only reduce India’s import dependency on hydrocarbon fuels but also provide clean air to its citizens, reduce GHG emissions in absolute terms and fulfil India’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat vision.
    • Global hydrogen initiatives have been gaining traction. A recent case in point being the US-India hydrogen taskforce that was launched under the aegis of US-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership. India also plans to extend the production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing electrolyzers, which are used for producing green hydrogen.

     

    Conclusion

    • Green hydrogen is of great topical interest to all the countries including BRICS as it has a great amount of potential to ensure sustainable energy supply, increase the level of energy availability and minimize the negative impact on the environment.
    • Trade will benefit from common international standards for the safety of transporting and storing large volumes of hydrogen and having appropriate certificates of origin. 
    • BRICS countries could work together on these aspects.

    Grey Hydrogen

    • Most of the hydrogen currently in use is produced through a process called steam methane reforming, which uses a catalyst to react methane and high temperature steam, resulting in hydrogen, carbon monoxide and a small amount of carbon dioxide. 
    • Other fossil fuels, such as propane, gasoline, and coal can also be used in steam reforming to produce hydrogen. 
    • The method of production, powered by fossil fuels, results in grey hydrogen as well as 830 million metric tons of CO2 emissions each year, equal to the emissions of the United Kingdom and Indonesia combined.

     

    Blue Hydrogen

    • When the CO2 produced from the steam methane reforming process is captured and stored elsewhere, the hydrogen produced is called blue hydrogen.
    • Blue Hydrogen is a hybrid concept targeting to decarbonize today’s hydrogen production. 
    • The concept is a combination of a Grey Hydrogen plant with a facility of Carbon Capture.
    • Blue Hydrogen captures those emissions and stores them underground to prevent them causing climate change.

     

    Sources: PIB