One of the goals that countries throughout the world have set for 2050 is to decarbonize the planet. Decarbonizing the production of an element like hydrogen, giving rise to green hydrogen, is one of the keys to achieving this, as it now accounts for more than 2% of total global CO2 emissions. Discover how this is accomplished and what impact it will have in the next decades.
To function, our way of life requires a rising number of watts. According to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) most recent predictions, published at the end of 2019, global energy demand will rise by 25 to 30 percent by 2040, which would mean more CO2 in an economy reliant on coal and oil, aggravating climate change. Decarbonizing the earth, on the other hand, implies a different world in 2050: one that is more accessible, efficient, and sustainable, and powered by clean energy such as green hydrogen.
WHAT IS GREEN HYDROGEN AND HOW DO YOU GET IT?
This technique is based on the chemical process of electrolysis, which produces hydrogen, a universal, light, and highly reactive fuel. This method separates hydrogen from oxygen in water by using an electrical current. We will produce energy without spewing carbon dioxide into the environment if this electricity is obtained from renewable sources.
According to the International Energy Agency, this way of creating green hydrogen would save the 830 million tonnes of CO2 created yearly when this gas is produced using fossil fuels. Similarly, replacing all grey hydrogen in the globe would necessitate 3,000 TWh/year of new renewables, which is similar to Europe's current demand. However, there are some worries regarding the viability of green hydrogen due to its high production cost; realistic doubts that will fade as the earth's decarbonisation proceeds and, as a result, the creation of renewable energy becomes less expensive.
CLEAN ENERGY FROM HYDROGEN
The most prevalent chemical element in nature is hydrogen. According to the International Energy Agency, global demand for hydrogen for use as a fuel has tripled since 1975, reaching 70 million tonnes per year in 2018. Furthermore, unlike coal and oil, it is a clean energy source that produces only water vapour and leaves no residue in the air.
Hydrogen has a long history of working with industry. Since the early nineteenth century, this gas has been utilised to power automobiles, airships, and spacecraft. The world economy's decarbonization, which cannot be postponed, will elevate hydrogen's profile. Furthermore, if its production prices fall by half by 2030, as forecasted by the World Hydrogen Council, we will surely be looking at one of the future fuels.
THE BENEFITS AND DISADVANTAGES OF GREEN HYDROGEN
This energy source offers advantages and disadvantages that we must be aware of. Let us go through some of its most crucial advantages:
Green hydrogen is completely sustainable because it emits no damaging gases during combustion or manufacture.
Hydrogen is easily stored, allowing it to be used later for various purposes and at periods other than right after it is produced.
Green hydrogen is versatile since it can be converted into energy or synthetic gas and used for home, commercial, industrial, or transportation applications.
Transportable: it can be combined with natural gas at up to a 20% ratio and travel through the same gas pipes and infrastructure; raising this percentage would necessitate altering many aspects in the current gas networks to make them compatible.
However, there are several disadvantages of using green hydrogen that should be considered:
- High cost: energy from renewable sources, which is essential for producing green hydrogen via electrolysis, is more expensive to produce, making hydrogen more expensive to obtain.
- High energy consumption: producing hydrogen in general, and green hydrogen in particular, requires more energy than producing other fuels.
- Safety concerns: Because hydrogen is a very volatile and explosive material, substantial safety precautions are required to prevent leaks and explosions.
GREEN HYDROGEN'S IMPACT
In countries such as the United States, Russia, China, France, and Germany, hydrogen as a fuel is a reality. Others, such as Japan, are going even further, aiming to develop a hydrogen economy. The following sections explain how the impact will be felt in the future:
1. Generators for electricity and drinking water
These two elements are created by combining hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell. This method has proven particularly valuable on space missions, for example, by providing crews with sustainable water and electricity.
2. Storage of energy
Compressed hydrogen tanks can store energy for lengthy periods of time and are also easier to handle than lithium-ion batteries due to their reduced weight.
3. Mobility and transportation
Because of its adaptability, hydrogen may be employed in consumption niches that are notoriously difficult to decarbonize, such as heavy transport, aviation, and maritime transport. There are already various projects in the works in this field, such as Hycarus and Cryoplane, which are supported by the European Union (EU) and intend to implement it in passenger aircraft.
What is the government's policy for green hydrogen?
The Centre notified the green hydrogen and green ammonia policies on Thursday (February 17), with the goal of increasing domestic production of green hydrogen to 5 million tonnes by 2030 and making India an export centre for the clean fuel.
The new policy provides 25 years of free power transmission for any new renewable energy facilities built before July 2025 to supply power for green hydrogen generation. This means that a green hydrogen producer will be able to build a solar power plant in Rajasthan to supply renewable energy to a green hydrogen plant in Assam without incurring any inter-state transmission fees. The move will almost certainly make it more cost effective for important users of hydrogen and ammonia, such as the oil refining, fertiliser, and steel industries, to create green hydrogen for their own use. Currently, these industries employ grey hydrogen or grey ammonia produced from natural gas or naphtha.
What are the benefits?
The government intends to create a single gateway for all clearances needed for green hydrogen production, as well as a mechanism for producers to bank any excess renewable energy produced with discoms for up to 30 days and use it as needed.
"The requirement of time-bound clearances for these projects would drive investment, while prioritising grid connectivity would improve operational operations," said Vikram Kirlosar, chairman of the CII Taskforce on Green Hydrogen and vice chairman of Toyota Kirloskar.
The electricity ministry has also stated that energy facilities built to create green hydrogen/ammonia would be given priority grid connectivity.
Under the new legislation, power distribution firms may also acquire renewable energy to supply green hydrogen producers, but only at a concessional rate that includes the cost of procurement, wheeling costs, and a small margin defined by the state commission. Such purchases would also contribute against a state's Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO), which mandates it to obtain a specific percentage of its energy needs from renewable sources.
What are the infrastructure in place to increase the export of green hydrogen and ammonia?
Port authorities would also give land for green hydrogen and green ammonia manufacturers to set up bunkers near ports for storage prior to export under the scheme. RK Singh, India's power minister, has previously stated that Germany and Japan might be significant markets for green hydrogen produced in India.
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