NATIONAL HYDROGEN MISSION
WHY IN THE NEWS?
On the 75th Independence day of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a national hydrogen mission(NHM) for the country.
Hydrogen is the lightest element and has an atomic number – 1.
As we say lightest, it means it is even lighter than air, and thus reaches the atmosphere and is rarely found in its pure form- H2 .
At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is non-toxic, non-metallic, odourless, tasteless, colourless and highly combustible diatomic gas.
So, hydrogen is highly combustible, and thus when burned with oxygen, it burns with zero emission. Zero emission means that no such products are released that damages the environment.
Hydrogen is not found as an independent molecule, but in complex molecules such as water or hydrocarbons on Earth.
Due to its several properties, it is used for industrial purposes such as petroleum refinery(to lower the sulfur content in diesel fuel), aerospace(for spacecraft propulsion), building block for the manufacturing of ammonia and further several fertilizers, in fuel cells(for generating power via chemical reaction and produce water and heat as byproducts).
HOW HYDROGEN IS PRODUCED?
There are many sources for the production of hydrogen which includes natural gas(by reacting natural gas with high temperature steam), nuclear power(uses high temperature to convert methane and steam in hydrogen gas and carbon dioxide) , biomass(converts carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide using steam) and renewable power like solar and wind(renewable electricity is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in an electrolyser. And the most common method to produce hydrogen is electrolysis.
As per the data of World Energy Council (WEC), 96 percent of hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels that is with the help of carbon intensive processes.
TYPES OF HYDROGEN
On the method of extraction, hydrogen is divided in 3 types-
- Brown hydrogen
It is produced from fossil fuels, coal or say from that material that emits greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.
- Blue hydrogen
In this greenhouse gases are captured, for example in the process of Steam Methane Reforming(SMR), there is production of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, so the produced carbon monoxide gas is captured and stored and it is done by process of Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS).
- Green hydrogen
Hydrogen that is produced without any emission of greenhouse gases and mainly their byproducts are heat, water, vapour.
OBJECTIVE OF THE MISSION
To enhance the production of hydrogen with the help of green power sources, the Indian government is focusing on producing green hydrogen and to make India a global hub for production and export of green hydrogen.
It will help India to fight climate change.
As there is a traditional idiom -”Every coin has two facets”, so here the production is looking good, but the problem is it is not a cup of tea to start manufacturing green hydrogen, it is expensive and not commercially viable.
To make it succeed, it is necessary that top rated institutes IITs, IISc should be pushed for developing technologies.
Private players should also come ahead for the production of green hydrogen.
The Government of India is going to invest Rs 800 Crores(between 2021-24) in Research, development, and demonstration(RD&D) projects to lower the cost of production of green hydrogen.