Carbon dioxide Emission is Much High in China, the US & India. Green Hydrogen Can Solve this Issue. But there are Practical Challenges

CO2 Emission, Global Warming & Green Hydrogen

Green hydrogen has now become a focus area in the clean energy movement by virtue of its potential to curb global warming. By now we all are well aware of the problem of climate change and global warming. 

Scientists and governments of progressive countries across the globe are determined to get a hold on it within the next 20 to 30 years.

Carbon dioxide gas (CO2) is a major cause of the temperature rise of the earth’s surface. Which is alarmingly rising at a rate of 0.18 0C (0.32 0F) per ten years since 1981

We are throwing this CO2 gas and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere on daily basis as a waste of various industrial processes, running the vehicles, ships, aeroplanes and coal-based thermal power plants.

A commercially viable Green hydrogen supply can replace conventional fossil fuels for all those uses, thus can control/stop the COemission. Thus, can cool down the earth once again.

How Much COis Being Emitted by the Countries? 

All developed and developing countries are responsible for the generation of greenhouse gases as a part of their development journey. 

At present, China is leading this emission, followed by the USA. India is a culprit in the third position, while the EU, Australia & Japan has curbed this emission to a remarkable scale.

Image: Author

The Role, India is Playing to Control Emission

Industrial sectors like oil refinery, steel, fertilizer and methanol are using coal, natural gases and naphtha for their processing and responsible for 11% of India’s total emissions. 

Use of green hydrogen in these sectors can cut down around 50-55 metric tons CO2per year.

India is taking up decisive steps to fight global warming in recent time. India is increasing the participation of renewable energy in its total generation portfolio, thus reducing the use of fossil fuel-based thermal power plants.

In a two-level target, first India will add 175 GW renewable energy in its national energy grid by 2022 and next by 2030, will increase this participation to a tune of 450 GW.

In parallel, India is taking up the challenge to produce green hydrogen on a mass scale at a competitive price. 

Though commercially viable green hydrogen is a developing technology as of now, but it carries an immense potential in India owing to the country’s low-cost production structure.

Image creation: Author (using the free images from Unsplash)

Green Hydrogen and Related Challenges

Now, what is this green hydrogen? In a simple word, the hydrogen gas when produced by the electrolysis of purified water, using the electricity available from renewable resources like wind and solar etc. are called green hydrogen.

For a long time, hydrogen is regularly being produced in industry for various purposes; the major requirement is in oil refining and to produce ammonia for fertilizer production.

But all hydrogen can’t be called as green hydrogen. The process employed to produce it determines the name. Conventionally the hydrogen is extracted from coal or natural gas. This is called grey hydrogen.

According to ‘International Energy Agency’ this production of grey hydrogen emits 830 million tons of carbon dioxide per year in the atmosphere. This is a big reason for global warming!

Another process uses natural gas too but captures the emitted carbon dioxide for controlled disposal. This hydrogen is called blue hydrogen and is considered as an economical alternative of green hydrogen.

The third process to produce low-carbon hydrogen is similar to the process of green hydrogen production but it uses electricity generated from a nuclear plant instead of renewable energy. Possibly China is the only country that prefers this method.

At this moment the main hurdle to produce commercial-scale green hydrogen is the cost of electrolysis.

An estimate of Australia’s Renewable Energy Agency says, the cost of electrolyser need to come down by around 75% and the cost of renewable power needs to drop by about 50% to make it competitive.

In India,- where renewable energy price is dropping continuously- with further support of the government, the production cost of green hydrogen could drop to 50% by 2030 and then it can commercially compete with fossil fuel.

Another hurdle to use green hydrogen extensively is transporting it to a long-distance in liquid form needs a chilling temperature of (-)253 deg.C.

This abnormally low temperature needs a special carrier that isn’t available in the world at this moment.

Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries has just built the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier ‘Suiso Frontier’ to use in a pilot project (worth USD 370 million) backed by the governments to carry liquid hydrogen from Australia to Japan.

In this project (in Australia’s Victoria state plant), liquid hydrogen will be produced from brown coal with carbon capture method and the captured carbon will be buried under the sea bed off the coast of Victoria. The targeted start of the project is in March 2021.

An easy alternative option to carry liquid hydrogen is to convert it in the form of liquid ammonia (NH3). This liquid needs a much higher temperature in comparison to liquid hydrogen and can maintain the liquid state at (-) 33 deg.C.

So, the world is looking to this option to ship green hydrogen converting it in liquid ammonia (N2 +H2 →2 NH3).

creation of hydrogen with green energy
Image creation: Author (using the free image from freepik)

Summing up

While the entire world including India is boosting renewable energy to reduce emission, a zero-emission target is only possible to achieve when big processing industries like steel-making, cement and fertilizers, aviation industry and shipping industry completely withdraw their dependence from fossil fuels. Green hydrogen can do that most effectively.

Therefore, green hydrogen would be the next revolution in the field of clean energy to fight global warming and climate change. It can be termed as a miracle fuel for our survival.

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This article originally published in, Illumination@ medium.com