During his I-Day speech, the PM has announced a National Hydrogen Mission and said India will become the world’s largest exporter of green hydrogen in the years to come.
What is Hydrogen fuel?
Hydrogen is the lightest and first element on the periodic table. Since the weight of hydrogen is less than air, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, H2.
- At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a nontoxic, nonmetallic, odorless, tasteless, colorless, and highly combustible diatomic gas.
- Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel burned with oxygen. It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines. It is also used as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.
National Hydrogen Mission
- The PM’s announcement takes forward the proposal, made in the 2021 Budget, for the launch of NHM that would enable the generation of hydrogen “from green power sources”.
- India has been working on a pilot project on Blue Hydrogen, Hydrogen CNG (H-CNG), and Green Hydrogen.
- The added advantage of hydrogen is that, apart from transportation, it can be a “decarbonizing agent” for industries like chemicals, iron, steel, fertilizer and refining, transport, heat and power.
- While the details of the NHM are yet to emerge, India has taken several exploratory steps.
- Several programs are focusing to blend hydrogen with compressed natural gas for use as a transportation fuel as well as an industrial input to refineries.
- One of the biggest challenges faced by the industry for using hydrogen commercially is the 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 are expensive which in turn increases the cost of production of hydrogen.
- Maintenance costs for fuel cells post-completion of a plant can be costly.
- 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.