A green budget for clean India 2021: Centre to launch Hydrogen Energy Mission

As global temperature soars, the need for alternative energy source is becoming important like never before. Green hydrogen which is produced through electrolysis of water seems to have massive potential in fulfilling the power requirements of the world in future, while checking climate change.

Taking the threat of climate change and rising global temperatures seriously, India is quite vehemently moving towards the implementation of cleaner sources of energy production as much as possible. With this in mind, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the Budget 2021 presentation announced the National Hydrogen Energy Mission.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also affirmed the Hydrogen Energy Mission while speaking at the third Re-inVest conference in November 2020. He also said that India is planning to launch a National Hydrogen Energy Mission in the country. However, it is only now, when FM Nirmala Sitharaman said in her budget speech that the government is ready to vouch for hydrogen production from green sources.

Following that, the country would advance its course for hydrogen production from greener alternative sources. The hydrogen that will be produced would be done through using various sources. The aim behind such production facilities will be to reduce dependence on metals, minerals, and other perishable sources for energy production. Green hydrogen energy production is known for zero-emissions ultimately strengthening the fight against climate change. 

As of now, the commercial viability of the hydrogen production facility is yet to be established. But with growing concerns over global warming, technologies related to the production of green hydrogen are increasingly getting economic attention. 

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Production of green hydrogen

Green hydrogen is produced through the electrolysis of water. The process separates oxygen and hydrogen from water. The electricity which is used in its production should necessarily come from cleaner sources such as solar and wind power. That’s how the hydrogen produced is ultimately known as green hydrogen. This hydrogen is quite different from grey hydrogen which is produced from methane and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and blue hydrogen which seizes emissions underground and prevents climate change.

Modern day scenario and the road ahead

With rising interest and reduction in costs of renewable power, there has been a considerable rise in the share of variable renewable energy and power supply. The green hydrogen production will also be enhanced as the focus on cutting electrolysis costs increases. 

With this, there would be a larger impetus to the production of renewable energy infrastructure while also enabling a circular economy and ensuring energy security in the sector of power generation. Similarly, it will also be vital for India in strengthening regional and national energy security.

In recent years, there have been various large corporates that have come together for the increase in the production of green hydrogen with an aim to raise it by 50 percent in the next six years. This initiative will cut the production cost by $2/Kg while bringing down emissions as well. Adding to that production costs have already fallen by 40 percent since 2015 and are expected to further decrease by 40 percent by 2025.

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Further, the target of 25 GW of green hydrogen production has already been set till 2026. As per estimates, such production facilities will help achieve the net zero emissions by 2050 while also slowing the rise in global temperatures by 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

It is also expected that for a full-fledged expansion of hydrogen production facilities in the world, investment worth of $110 billion would be required. Moreover, it will also help in creating 1,20,000 jobs. Fortunately, investments in this regard are all set to cross $1 billion a year mark by 2023.

Future Potential of Green Hydrogen

As per Goldman Sachs green hydrogen can supply upto 25 percent of the world’s energy by 2050. At present, mostly hydrogen is used for the purpose of decarbonisation in heavy industries. Maximum amount of hydrogen is now used for production of ammonia, and in industries like steel and cement plants. 

Many experts also claim that hydrogen does have the potential to replace electric cars as hydrogen fuel cell cars easily get charged in a few minutes. Besides that, hydrogen can also be used in the movement of long-haul trucks and containers, freight shipping, air travel and can also be used in heating our homes.

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