India’s green hydrogen move may worsen pollution if steps are not in place, says study
According to a report by the environmental and energy think-tank Climate Risk Horizons (CRH), India’s intentions to manufacture so-called “green hydrogen” — gas produced without resulting in fossil fuel emissions — may wind up exacerbating pollution if sufficient checks and balances are not in place.
What is the “ Green Hydrogen”?
- Green hydrogen is created by splitting water with renewable energy. It’s also known as renewable hydrogen.
- Green hydrogen is the cleanest and most environmentally friendly hydrogen. It emits no damaging gases into the atmosphere.
- The carbon intensity of green hydrogen is determined by the carbon neutrality of the electricity source. The greater the proportion of renewable energy in the power fuel mix, the “greener” the hydrogen produced.
How is Green Hydrogen produced?
- Green hydrogen is created by the following processes:
- water electrolysis
- Using renewable energy
- The procedure simply generates hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can be consumed, and the oxygen can be released into the atmosphere without harm.
- Green hydrogen emits far fewer greenhouse gases than grey hydrogen, which is produced from fossil fuels without carbon capture.
How is the government defining Green Hydrogen?
- Green hydrogen is defined by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) as hydrogen produced with emissions of no more than two kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilogram of hydrogen.
- This concept is viewed as relatively ambiguous and susceptible to interpretation, which may result in differences in emissions from different green hydrogen production technologies.
What is the problem with using India’s source of energy to produce Green Hydrogen?
- Electrolysers, which require a continuous and clean source of power, are used in the creation of green hydrogen.
- The study expresses worry that sourcing electricity for green hydrogen generation from India’s coal-powered grid could increase carbon emissions, particularly at night when solar power is unavailable.
- Approximately 70% of the electricity on India’s grid is generated by coal, with this figure increasing during non-daylight hours when solar generation is limited.
What are the challenges faced in this transition?
- The National Green Hydrogen Mission of India has set lofty goals, such as producing five million tons of green hydrogen by 2030.
- A significant increase in renewable energy capacity is required to achieve this aim. However, according to the research, India’s current progress in installing new solar and wind power falls short of the annual benchmarks required to reach the 2030 ambitions.
- In addition, as part of its Paris Agreement commitments, India has pledged to install 500 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
In conclusion, the study emphasizes the necessity for a more exact and defined definition of green hydrogen to achieve consistent emissions reductions. It raises questions regarding the source of electricity, particularly at night, and how this may affect carbon emissions. The research underlines the challenges of increasing renewable energy capacity to enable green hydrogen generation, as well as the importance of transparency and disclosure in projects to guarantee India’s green hydrogen ambitions are environmentally sound.