GS 3 Science and Technology Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
Hydrogen fuel cells produce electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen atoms ; reacts with oxygen across an electrochemical cell similar to that of a battery to produce electricity, water, and small amounts of heat.
- In Union Budget address, Finance Minister announced that India will launch its National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM) in 2021-22.
- The proposal in the Budget will be followed up with a mission –
- a roadmap for using hydrogen as an energy source,
- with a specific focus on green hydrogen,
- dovetailing India’s growing renewable capacity with the hydrogen economy.
Need of using hydrogen as an energy source:
- India with a population of 1.3 billion is the second most populous country and the third largest economy (measured by purchasing power parity) in the world.
- The country is advancing on a faster growth path:
- decrease in poverty level,
- increased energy access for citizens,
- availability of cleaner cooking fuel
- growing penetration of renewables,
- Proposed end-use sectors include steel and chemicals, the major industry that hydrogen has the potential of transforming is transportation
- which contributes a third of all greenhouse gas emissions,
- where hydrogen is being seen as a direct replacement of fossil fuels,
- with specific advantages over traditional EVs.
Key Role in transforming climate-neutral systems:
- Has high energy content per unit mass, three times higher than gasoline.
- Used for energy applications with suitable fuel cells.
- Potential to contribute towards decarbonised, sustainable, secure energy future.
- The need is to introduce it into more diverse set of energy sources of its production and then move on to green hydrogen.
- The transition pathways which make use of existing infrastructure and skills will be both economically feasible and easier to adapt.
Tackle various critical energy challenges:
- Decarbonise a range of sectors including intensive and long-haul transport, chemicals.
- Iron and steel, proving difficult to meaningfully reduce emissions and help to improve air quality and strengthen energy security.
- It increases flexibility in power systems.
- Storing energy from renewables
- become the lowest-cost option for storing large quantities of electricity.
- In order to make it a viable option,
- new material development, electrolytes, storage, safety, and standards, need to be addressed.
- Can help to reduce global warming,
- acceleration of efforts is critical to ensuring a significant share of hydrogen in the energy system.
- Using hydrogen commercially is a challenge on economic sustainability of extracting green or blue hydrogen.
- The technology used in production and use of hydrogen like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen fuel cell technology are at nascent stage and is expensive
- which in turn increases the cost of production of hydrogen.
- The maintenance costs for fuel cells post-completion of a plant can be costly, like in South Korea.
- The commercial usage of hydrogen as a fuel and in industries requires mammoth investment in R&D of such technology and infrastructure for production, storage, transportation and demand creation for hydrogen.
- The clean hydrogen technologies are available, costs are coming down, efficiency and performance are improving.
- Two key developments contributed to the growth:
- The cost of hydrogen supply from renewables has come down and continues to fall,
- While the urgency of greenhouse gas emission mitigation has increased, and many countries have begun to take action to decarbonise their economies.
- Identify the key long-term goals and the step to achieve those goals.
- The building up of policies, infrastructure and skills will help in
- wider acceptance,
- reducing perceived risks,
- enhancing confidence,
- increased investments,
- lowering costs.
- Thus, the major challenges we need to finally meet is
- scaling up,
- cost reduction,
- increased adoption
- sustainable growth of hydrogen-based technologies.
The role that Government can play is towards creating a long-term policy framework which could build up confidence in private investment, create market demand with policy interventions, develop standards and regulations which should not hurdle the growth, provide enhanced R & D support.