What is Green Hydrogen? Energy future and India’s perspective.
We know hydrogen is an invisible and colourless gas but it got different names after colour spectrum why? Is it not sufficient to cause confusion in our mind and curiosity to know more about different hydrogens, such as green hydrogen, blue hydrogen, brown hydrogen, turquoise hydrogen, pink hydrogen, etc?
Why colour code?
This nomenclature was given by energy industries to know their sources of production. The colour says their identity and origin. Let us know the colourful hydrogen group.
Green hydrogen is produced artificially by a machine known as an electrolyzer, which split the fresh water into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrochemical reaction called electrolysis. Then what is green hydrogen? The hydrogen produced by using clean electricity or green fuel or green energy is called green hydrogen. Green energy means renewable energy like solar energy and wind energy. During the production of hydrogen using green energy as fuel, no harmful byproducts like greenhouse gases release into the air.
Blue hydrogen is produced basically from natural gas using a technology called steam reforming. The end product is hydrogen and carbon dioxide. However, the carbon generated during the process is captured and stored underground through Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). That is why blue hydrogen is also referred to as “carbon neutral“. But 10-20 percent of emission is leaked into the atmosphere.
Grey hydrogen is the most common form of hydrogen available nowadays. It is produced from natural gas or methane using a steam reformation process. During the process, greenhouse gases are released into the environment.
Black and brown hydrogen:
These types of hydrogen are produced from fossil fuels such as black coal (bituminous) and brown coal (lignite) respectively through the process of gasification.
Pink hydrogen is produced through electrolysis using nuclear energy. Pink hydrogen is also referred to as purple and red hydrogen.
White hydrogen forms naturally and is found underground occasionally. It is not feasible to harvest till now.
It is new in the hydrogen lineup, produced by the process of methane pyrolysis and the end product is liquid hydrogen and solid carbon. Carbon emission may vary depending on the input energy it uses for the purpose.
Why a big push for green hydrogen?
Hydrogen is an element and when burnt energy is generated in the form of heat and water produced as a byproduct, naming it a source of green energy. Hydrogen was a part of discussions of climate change, as it may play a bigger role in the decarbonization of industrial sectors including aviation in near future.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that “hydrogen could play an important role in a clean energy future.” World Economic Forum- has launched the Accelerating Clean Hydrogen Initiative, as part of its climate action platform, shaping the Future of Energy, Materials, and Infrastructure, to give a great push for the purpose. Climate change leading to global warming is a bigger factor behind the big push for green hydrogen.
In Paris Agreement 2015, the global leaders collectively agreed to keep global warming “well under 2 degree Celsius.” However, with the pledges made under the Agreement, global warming would still reach about 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the current century. Keeping the warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Present status of green hydrogen production:
Presently only 1 percent of overall hydrogen production is coming from green energy, justifying its first step towards a long journey. Lack of infrastructure and the high cost of renewable energy are the factors denoted for such grim scenarios throughout the world.
As per the International, Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) hydrogen will make up 12% of the energy mix by the end of 2050, out of which 66% must be from water, as suggested. Now China is the largest producer of green hydrogen, contributing 20 million tonnes per annum, which accounts for 1/3rd of global production.
Presently hydrogen is used to produce ammonia and methanol for agriculture sectors and industrial purposes, including fertilizers and refineries. Further, it would cover untapped areas like transport, building, and power generation. Green ammonia (NH3) is produced with an additional step after hydrogen is produced in the electrolysis process.
Where does India stand in respect of green hydrogen?
In his Independent Day speech on 15.08.2021 Honb’le Prime Minister launched National Hydrogen Mission. Union Finance Minister announced National Hydrogen Mission in Union Budget 2021. The Ministry of Power notified Green Hydrogen Policy (GHP) 2021-2022 on 17th February 22 well came by industrial sectors. The government fixed a target of over 60 GW /5 million tonnes of production by 2030.
It is notified that ” Green Hydrogen / Green Ammonia can be manufactured by a developer by using renewable energy from a co-located renewable energy plant or sourced from a remotely located renewable energy plant ( SiC ), whether set up by the same developer or a third party or procured renewable energy from the power exchange.” It is further said ” manufacturers and Green Hydrogen/Green Ammonia shall be allowed to set up bunkers near ports for storage of Green Ammonia for export/use by shipping.
The land for the purpose shall be provided by the respective port authorities at applicable charges.” For research and development $1 billion to invest to ” enable breakthrough technologies for the world at scale and the speed that is required, “Government’s policy definitely focus the commitment for green energy and green future.
SSV Ramkumar, director for research and development at IOC, the largest oil refiner, and biggest hydrogen consumer, said that the government’s visionary policy definitely reduce the cost of hydrogen by at least 50 percent in the coming days.
Responses of Indian industries on Green hydrogen call:
Indian industries’ response to the government call is very encouraging. Adani group, Reliance Industries Ltd, Larsen & Toubro Ltd, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., NTPC Ltd, and others have chalked out plans and prepared strategies to meet the goal set by the Government of India.
- Adani Green Energy Ltd ((AGEL) of Adani group has a target of 25 GW of green energy by 2025 including Solar Power, Wing Energy, and Hybrid Power Projects. The company has signed a partnership agreement with TotalEnergies of France to create a green hydrogen ecosystem jointly. AGEL plans to invest USD 50 billion over the next 10 years in this sector.
- Reliance Industries Ltd targets to turn net zero by 2035 and to become the top Green hydrogen producer in India. Mukash Ambani said it plans to produce 100 gigawatts of renewable energy, a fifth of the nation’s target by the end of this decade. He vowed to produce green hydrogen at an affordable price of $1 per KG, a more than 60% reduction from today’s cost. He plans to invest $75 billion in green energy sectors to make India a green hydrogen hub.
- Larsen & Toubro Ltd has commissioned 380 KV of 800 KW green hydrogen for its own consumption at its Hazira manufacturing complex in Gujrat, India. The company said ” it will be powered by the rooftop solar plant of 990 KW peak DC capacity and 500 kWh battery energy storage system. The 420 KW PEM electrolyzer, along with solar plant capacity augmentation to 1.6 MW peak DC, will be part of future expansion.”
- Tata Power Solar Systems Ltd a Tata group company is the largest integrated solar power player in India. It has a power generation capacity of 12.8 GW, of which 3.9 GW is currently coming from clean energy, and targets to make 80% of its total power coming from green energy by 2030. India’s largest solar EPC order was bagged by Tata power solar. The project will be developed under the CPSU scheme of MNRE and will be completed within a period of 24 months as per its website.
- IOC, L&T, and ReNew power announced a joint venture to develop green hydrogen. Further IOC and L&T are coming together to manufacture and sell electrolyzers used in the production of green hydrogen.
- Hydrabad-based Greenko group and Belgium-based John Cockerill jointly build a two-gigawatt hydrogen electrolyzer gigafactory in India, said to be the largest outside China.
- National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (NTPC) is coming up with a first of its kind of project in the country, which would blend hydrogen with PNG. Initially, it would blend 5% of the total gas supply and gradually increase it to 20% and supply to 200 houses in Aditya Nagar residential colony of NTPC, Kawas in Hazira. The plant will be equipped with a 6.5 KW polymer electrolyte membrane with one standard cubic meter per hour (SCMh). The hydrogen generation plant will be operationalized using a 1MW floating solar power plant at NTPC, Kawas.
- NTPC has taken up India’s first green hydrogen mobility project with a fuel cell electric vehicle at Leh, Ladakh. It is the first pilot project of its kind with the deployment of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) for public use in the country. Further NTPC in December 2021, an awarded project of a Standalone-Fuel-Cell-based microgrid with hydrogen production using an electrolyzer at NTPC, Simhadri (AP). This is said to be India’s first green hydrogen-based Energy Storage Project and one of the largest in the world.
- Oil India ltd (OIL) has taken first significant steps towards India’s first Green hydrogen production unit with 99.999% pure green hydrogen production. It commissioned the green hydrogen plant at its Jorhat Pump Station in Assam on 20.04.22 with a production capacity of 45kg per day at present. The company source says the operational 380 kg capacity uses an alkaline electrolysis process and the rest 420kw capacity will be based on the PEM electrolysis process.
- First Solar, the US-based solar panel manufacturer has invested INR 5600 crore to build a 3.3 GW fully integrated factory in Tamilnadu and the company is to start production by the end of next year, the company told to ETEnergyworld website.
- 02 Power first growing renewable energy company in India, plans to invest $2.5 billion to generate 4 GW of operational assets in green energy soon.
- US-based Ohmium, through its subsidiary company Ohmium India Private Ltd, commissioned India’s first green hydrogen electrolyzer gigafactory, at Bengaluru, Karnataka in August 2021. The gigafactory is manufacturing India-made Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) hydrogen electrolyzers with an initial manufacturing capacity of 500MW per year and reaching an optimum capacity of 2GW per year.
- Indian Express reported (12.9.22) ” Scientists at the University of California Santa, Santa Cruz (UCSC) have developed a new method to efficiently generate hydrogen from water at ambient temperature using aluminum and gallium”
Presently PEM electrolysis process and Alkaline electrolysis process are used to separate the hydrogen and oxygen from water. Now new technologies coming up to make green hydrogen from water to give a big push to the sector.
- The article on the above research was published in the science journal “Applied Nano Materials.” The researchers found that a ratio of 3:1 of gallium and aluminum composition was the optimum ratio to produce the highest hydrogen. Gallium is costly but researchers are optimistic about the commercial use of the new technology. They have applied for a US patent.
- Melbourne University, Australia, researchers have claimed to have tested a direct air electrolyzer ” that can pull hydrogen straight out of the air using ambient humidity, meaning its possible to create green hydrogen nearly anywhere on the planet regardless of freshwater supplies.” The research was published in the journal-Nature Communication, where it was claimed to have tested the prototype direct-air electrolyzer for days together and succeeded to produce almost 750 liters of green hydrogen a day on average per square meter of the electrolyzer. ” It is the first such electrolyzer to produce high purity 99% hydrogen from the air with (at least) as low 4% humidity ” claimed Gang Kevin Li, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
The above research on new technology definitely changes the green hydrogen scenario in the entire Universe.
Energy is the lifeline of an entire civilization. The entire human ecosystem and the planet are bound by energy. Now green hydrogen/ green energy emerged as the alternative to fossil fuels and the entire world is serious about its research and production infrastructure to save this planet from global warming and climate change.
India is not far behind in this run for green energy and many industrial houses responded to the call of the government in a very positive manner. Huge money is being pumped into this sector for research, infrastructure development, and production chain all over the world including India.
As estimated by the experts cost of the hydrogen shall come down from $5-6/ kg (today) to $2/ kg over a period of 5 to 6 years and around $1-1.5 by 2030. Hope for the best for the next generation, and not to blame for the mishandling of the resources and ecosystem.