Companies are foraying into renewable energy to help save the planet, and hydrogen is getting a lot of attention.
GAIL Chairman and MD Manoj Jain told, as mentioned by Business Today, GAIL will be laying pipeline infrastructure to connect consumption centres to gas sources while also boosting its renewable energy portfolio. The company will foray into hydrogen generation, and it is looking to acquire assets to augment the renewable portfolio. In the firm’s latest annual report, Jain said that the global energy sector is seeing a paradigm shift in recent years as the world is shifting to a sustainable energy future.
Apart from GAIL, the Indian Oil Corporation said that it will build India’s first “green hydrogen” plant at its Mathura refinery. The company’s chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya said that the firm is pushing ahead with research on carbon capture, utilisation, and storage technologies — space where it is looking for global collaboration to meet its Paris climate goals.
We know about hydrogen energy, and how it is helping us better the environment. But what is green hydrogen?
Meet Green Hydrogen
Green hydrogen is created via a chemical process known as electrolysis. This method utilises an electrical current to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen in water. If this electricity is obtained from renewable sources, we will, therefore, produce energy without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is one of the three main types of hydrogen, and the other two are Grey Hydrogen, and Blue Hydrogen.
Grey hydrogen is the most common form of hydrogen, and it is created from fossil fuel, and the process releases carbon dioxide, which is not captured. Blue hydrogen uses the same process as grey, but here, the carbon is captured, and stored. This makes it a much more environmentally friendly option, but it comes with added technical challenges, and a huge increase in cost. Think tanks and green hydrogen advocates argue that blue hydrogen goes against the goals, and principles of net-zero, and being more expensive than green hydrogen in the medium term, writes Brunel Global.
Why Is It Better?
Green hydrogen can be produced wherever there is water, and electricity to generate more electricity or heat. Green hydrogen can be used in industry, and can be stored in existing gas pipelines to power household appliances. For example, it can transport renewable energy when converted into a carrier like ammonia, a zero-carbon fuel for shipping.
Hydrogen can also be used with fuel cells to power anything that utilised electricity, like electric vehicles, and electronic devices. A hydrogen fuel cell is two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine fuelled by gas.
According to Bloomberg, Chinese investors see potential for further gains in firms making equipment required to produce or use green hydrogen. The article also said, that the sector has until now provided a haven from government crackdowns on technology, and education companies that China blames for worsened inequality, and raising financial risk.
Li Weiqing, fund manager at JH Investment Management, told Bloomberg, “Hydrogen power is one of the ultimate solutions to achieve net-zero emissions.” He added that, the sector will get “heavy policy support.” The sector is benefitting as local governments, which include Beijing and Inner Mongolia, are introducing strategies, which are aimed at cultivating green hydrogen companies to show compliance with net-zero targets.
Apart from China, the European Union will be investing $430 billion in green hydrogen by 2030 to help achieve the goals of its Green Deal. U.S President Joe Biden has promised to use renewable energy to produce green hydrogen that costs less than natural gas. The Department of Energy is putting up to $100 million into the research and development of hydrogen, and fuel cells.
In The End
The green hydrogen sector will continue to grow, as more companies are looking to invest in this technology, as they want to reduce their carbon footprint. According to IHS Markit, investment in green hydrogen production is set to surpass $1 billion a year by 2023, with the costs of both renewable power, and electrolyser technology decline, and governments introduce supportive policies. A McKinsey study estimates that by 2030, the U.S. hydrogen economy could generate $140 billion, and support 700,000 jobs. A TERI report said that green hydrogen demand is projected to rise five-fold in India by 2050, with the cost more than halving by 2030.
Green hydrogen could supply up to 25% of the world’s energy needs by 2050, and become a $10 trillion addressable market by 2050, according to Goldman Sachs. So, the market is huge, and we might be seeing more oil, and fossil fuel companies shift their focus towards the production of clean energy.
Green hydrogen can play a crucial role in boosting the decarbonisation efforts, especially in industrial, transport, and power sectors. Meanwhile, the main focus of companies, and governments is to lower the cost of hydrogen production, and commercialising green hydrogen. So, governments across the world has to devise strategies to make sure that green hydrogen becomes available in the near future, so that they can reach net-zero emissions, and save the planet from crumbling.