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India’s Green Hydrogen Policy and Available Technologies

Green Hydrogen Policy

Green hydrogen is appealing to interest as a possible source of clean energy and is frequently advertised as ‘the fuel of the future. Hydrogen gas can be used as a fuel in transportation, power generation, and industrial activities as it doesn’t release greenhouse gases such as CO2 when it is burned. Green hydrogen is just a name given to hydrogen gas that has been produced using renewable energy, such as wind or solar power, which create no greenhouse gas emissions. Hydrogen and ammonia are projected to be the future fuels, and manufacturing of these fuels using renewable energy is one of the major necessities toward sustainable energy sanctuary and reduction in fossil fuel importation bills for the nation. Green hydrogen is created by separating water into hydrogen and oxygen in an electrolyzer using renewable energy. The hydrogen produced is linked with nitrogen to make ammonia, preventing hydrocarbons in the fabrication method. Companies need to implement all of these technologies to encourage the production of Hydrogen.

Green Hydrogen Policy, India

The government of India notified the first part of its Green Hydrogen Policy in February 2022 as a forward step towards National Hydrogen Mission. The mission is aimed to make India a green hydrogen hub and help to meet the climate targets. It aims for the production of five million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) of green hydrogen by 2030 and the related development of renewable energy capacity.

India’s Green Hydrogen Policy announcement comes rapidly, as the country pledges to go carbon-neutral by 2070 at the COP-26 summit in Glasgow last year. The journey towards energy security gains more importance at a time while the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis has raised energy costs across the world, squeezing India, which imports 85% of its oil and 53% of natural gas requirements. The new policy proposed 25 years of transmission of free power for new renewable energy plants set up to supply power for green hydrogen production before July 2025 which means that a hydrogen producer can set up a solar power plant in Rajasthan to supply renewable energy to a hydrogen plant in Assam and would not be required to pay any inter-state transmission charges. The implementation of this Policy will provide clean fuel to the common people of the country. This will reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce crude oil imports. The objective also is for our country to emerge as an export Hub for Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia. The policy encourages Renewable Energy (RE) generation as it will be the basic ingredient in making green hydrogen.

This in turn will help in meeting the international commitments for clean energy.

Hydrogen from Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuel handling technologies transform hydrogen comprising substances obtained from fossil fuels, such as gas, hydrocarbons, methanol, or ethanol, into a hydrogen-enriched gas stream. The handling of methane (natural gas) is the most common industrial hydrogen production today. Most fossil fuels have a specific quantity of sulfur, the removal of which is a substantial mission in the development of hydrogen-based wealth.

Current Landscape of Hydrogen Production

Colors linked with hydrogen creation include grey, blue, and green. The various shades show differences in emission patterns for various hydrogen generation methods.

Grey Hydrogen– Use of fossil fuels for hydrogen production — Natural gas reforming is the most extensively used method for hydrogen synthesis, however, it produces a significant quantity of CO2. This technology is used in a variety of sectors to generate cost-effective hydrogen.

Blue Hydrogen– CO2 emissions are reduced by hydrogen produced from fossil fuels and the deployment of carbon-capture equipment.

Green Hydrogen– Hydrogen created by electrolysis – utilizing power generated by renewables and other methods. Several facilities with a capacity of more than 100MW have been announced for the generation of green hydrogen utilizing electrolyzers. The technologies of alkaline and PEM electrolyzers are widely employed. High-temperature electrolyzer processes are also changing.

Apart from water electrolysis, the following techniques for hydrogen generation (Green and Blue) are already in various phases of development:

Methane Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is a well-known route for hydrogen production, in which hydrogen-containing compounds such as hydrocarbons are the only reactants. These compounds are decomposed by heating in the absence of oxygen. Methane pyrolysis is a revolutionary new process method that converts natural gas or biomethane straight into hydrogen and solid carbon. This procedure uses very little energy. Furthermore, if it uses renewable energy, there are no greenhouse gas emissions. This is a concept that has been around since the 1960s but has always failed to owe to technological difficulties.

Methane pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of methane. Using nickel as a catalyst, methane conversion in the percentage range is observed above approx. 500 C. Without a suitable catalyst, the decomposition reaction starts at temperatures above 700 C. To achieve technically relevant reaction rates and methane conversion rates, the temperature must be considerably higher, i.e., for catalytic processes above 800 C, for thermal processes above 1000 C, and when using plasma torches at up to 2000 C. The main reaction of methane pyrolysis is endothermic and ideally produces solid carbon and gaseous hydrogen

Categories of Methane Pyrolysis Process

Thermal Decomposition For the thermal decomposition of methane, reaction temperatures of well over 1000 C are required. If the process heat is provided via the reactor walls, soot deposits on hot surfaces, which typically leads to operational disturbances and a deterioration in heat transfer.

 

  • Plasma Decomposition

In plasma decomposition, high local energy densities and temperatures of up to 2000 C are generated utilizing a plasma torch. Large gas volume flows are usually recirculated to stabilize the plasma. In the area of the actual plasma torch, cooling, electrode wear, and carbon deposits are among the greatest technical challenges.

 

  • Catalytic Decomposition

The catalytic decomposition of methane typically shows satisfying reaction rates and conversion rates already at temperatures well below 1000 C. However, the active catalyst surface is usually deactivated after a short time by the solid carbon formed on it. Mechanical destruction of the support is reported caused by the incorporation of carbon in the catalyst.

Solar Hydrogen Production

These are photolytic mechanisms that split water into hydrogen and oxygen using light energy. Several sorts of studies are being conducted on two key processes: photocatalytic water splitting and photoelectrochemical water splitting. These technologies are still in the early phases of development, but they have the potential to produce green hydrogen with minimal environmental effects.

 

  • Photoelectrochemical water splitting (PEC)– Hydrogen is produced from water in the PEC process. It makes use of sunshine and specific semiconductors known as photoelectrochemical materials. Light is used in these materials to directly separate water molecules.

In January 2020, Israeli researchers created a concept for a separate-cell PEC water-splitting system with decoupled hydrogen and oxygen cells. PEC water splitting, according to DOE, is a viable future method for hydrogen synthesis.

 

  • Photocatalytic water Splitting – It is an artificial photosynthesis technique that uses photocatalysis to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. The majority of Photocatalytic Water Splitting research is focused on building a high-performance photocatalyst. Researchers want to create photocatalysts with strong light absorption, fast charge transfer, and acceptable surface reaction characteristics.

Continuous advancements in efficiency, durability, and affordability of both technologies are still necessary for both methods to be marketable. One of the primary issues for the solar hydrogen manufacturing process is the overall system efficiency. Other issues include the creation of long-lasting, efficient photocatalysts and electron transfer catalysts. The method also necessitates the creation of composite materials that can be produced in big quantities at a reasonable cost.

Biological hydrogen production

The photolytic biological process produces hydrogen by using sunlight and specialized microorganisms such as green algae and cyanobacteria. Microbes absorb water and create hydrogen as a byproduct through a natural metabolic process. According to the US DOE, this method is currently in its early stages of development and is predicted to evolve and have a long-term production capacity of less than 1,500 kg/day.

Biomass Gasification

It is a method that employs heat, steam, and oxygen to transform biomass into hydrogen and other products without the need for combustion. At temperatures over 700°C, it transforms organic or fossil-based carbonaceous compounds. Growing biomass removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and results in low net carbon emissions, especially when combined with long-term carbon capture.

Forestry crops and residues, crops and residues, sewage, industrial residues, animal leftovers, and municipal solid waste are all biomass sources. The production of hydrogen by gasification contributes to the serious environmental challenge of increasing waste stockpiles.

High reactor costs, low system efficiency, feedstock impurities, and the expense of carbon capture systems are some of the issues that have resulted in major hurdles to the mainstream implementation of this method.

 

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