The Union Budget for 2021-22 has announced a National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHM) that will draw up a road map for using hydrogen as an energy source.The initiative has the potential of transforming transportation.

National Hydrogen Energy Mission

  • NHM initiative will capitalise on one of the most abundant elements on earth (Hydrogen) for a cleaner alternative fuel option.

Key Points

  • About the National Hydrogen Energy Mission:
    • Focus on generation of hydrogen from green power resources.
    • To link India’s growing renewable capacity with the hydrogen economy.
      • India’s ambitious goal of 175 GW by 2022 got an impetus in the 2021-22 budget which allocated Rs. 1500 crore for renewable energy development and NHM.
      • The usage of hydrogen will not only help India in achieving its emission goals under the Paris Agreement, but will also reduce import dependency on fossil fuels.
  • Hydrogen:
    • 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.
    • Type of Hydrogen:
      • Grey Hydrogen:

        • Constitutes India’s bulk Production.
        • Extracted from hydrocarbons (fossil fuels, natural gas).
        • By product: CO2
      • Blue Hydrogen:
        • Sourced from fossil fuels.
        • By product: CO, CO2
        • By products are Captured and Stored, so better than gey hydrogen.
      • Green Hydrogen:
        • Generated from renewable energy (like Solar, Wind).
        • Electricity splits water into hydrogen and oxygen.
        • By Products : Water, Water Vapor
  • Asia-Pacific Stance:
    • In Asia-Pacific sub-continent, Japan and South Korea are on the front foot in terms of hydrogen policy making.
    • In 2017, Japan formulated the Basic Hydrogen Strategy which sets out the country’s action plan till 2030, including the establishment of an international supply chain.
    • South Korea is operating hydrogen projects and Hydrogen Fuel Cell production units under the auspices of its Hydrogen Economy Development and Safe Management of Hydrogen Act, 2020.
      • South Korea has also passed the Economic Promotion and Safety Control of Hydrogen Act, which deals with three key areas – hydrogen vehicles, charging stations and fuel cells. This law is intended to bring transparency to the nation’s hydrogen pricing system.
  • Indian Context:
    • India has a huge edge in green hydrogen production owing to its favorable geographic conditions and presence of abundant natural elements.
    • The government has given impetus in scaling up the gas pipeline infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country, and has introduced reforms for the power grid, including the introduction of smart grids. Such steps are being taken to effectively integrate renewable energy in the present energy mix.
    • Capacity addition to renewable power generation, storage and transmission, producing green hydrogen in India can become cost effective which will not only guarantee energy security, but also ensure self-sufficiency gradually.

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