National Green Hydrogen Mission: Catching the bus

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    The Union Cabinet approved a ?19,744 crore National Green Hydrogen mission.

    Do you Know?

    • Hydrogen is a key industrial fuel that has a variety of applications including the production of ammonia (a key fertilizer), steel, refineries and electricity.
      • However, all of the hydrogen manufactured now is the so-called ‘black or brown’ hydrogen produced from coal. 
    • Grey hydrogen is produced from natural gas while ‘Blue’ hydrogen is from fossil fuel sources where the ensuring carbon emitted is captured via carbon-capture processes. 
    • Green hydrogen is when hydrogen is produced via electrolysis, the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen with electricity generated from renewable energy sources such as solar or wind. 
      • Green hydrogen currently accounts for less than 1% of global hydrogen production due to it being expensive to produce. 

    National Green Hydrogen Mission

    • The Mission will “facilitate demand creation, production, utilisation and export of Green Hydrogen,”
    • It aims to make India a ‘global hub’ for using, producing and exporting green hydrogen.
    • It aims to incentivise the commercial production of green hydrogen and make India a net exporter of the fuel. 
    • The mission has laid out a target to develop green hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonne) per annum. 
      • This is alongside adding renewable energy capacity of about 125 GW (gigawatt) in the country. 

    Submissions

    • There are two umbrella sub-missions under the program. 
      • the Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition Programme (SIGHT), which will fund the domestic manufacturing of electrolyzers and produce green hydrogen. 
      • Support pilot projects in emerging end-use sectors and production pathways.
        • States and regions capable of supporting large-scale production and/or utilisation of hydrogen will be identified and developed as Green Hydrogen Hubs. 

    Significance 

    • It can be used to generate electricity or as fuel in industries or vehicles.
    • It will entail the decarbonisation of the industrial, mobility and energy sectors;
      • reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels and feedstock;
      • developing indigenous manufacturing capabilities; 
      • creating employment opportunities; and developing new technologies such as efficient fuel cells.

     Challenges

    • Green hydrogen development is still in the nascent stages globally and while India can take the lead in being a major producer, it doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure yet.
      • Optimizing plant designs and end-to-end green hydrogen systems can be costly and incredibly complex. 
    • Limited specialized workforce.
    • Green hydrogen is also incredibly challenging to store and transport. 
      • It is a highly flammable gas with a low volumetric density, requiring investment in specialized pipelines and carriers.
    • High energy losses. Green hydrogen loses a considerable amount of energy at every point in the supply chain
    • Reduced knowledge on optimum design and return on investment, thus limiting bankability.

    Suggestions and Way Ahead 

    • Green hydrogen, produced through a clean process, is rightly seen as the most dependable source of energy of the future. 
    •  For India to realise ambitions, it must strengthen its small manufacturing and allied enterprises infrastructure along with large industries.
    • India needs to announce incentives to convince enough users of industrial hydrogen to adopt green hydrogen.
    •  It needs to develop supply chains in the form of pipelines, tankers, intermediate storage and last-leg distribution networks as well as put in place an effective skill development programme to ensure that lakhs of workers can be suitably trained to adapt to a viable green hydrogen economy

    Mains Practise Question 

    [Q] Discuss the objectives of the National Green Hydrogen Mission. Why does India want to be a leading exporter of green hydrogen?