Biohydrogen and India’s Green Hydrogen pathway

Biohydrogen and India’s Green Hydrogen pathway

News: Here we discuss the role of Biohydrogen in India’s Green hydrogen pathway.

What is the difference between Biohydrogen and Green Hydrogen? 
Biohydrogen and Green Hydrogen are both forms of hydrogen, but they are produced through different

processes:
• Biohydrogen is hydrogen that is produced biologically. This is often done by algae, bacteria, and archaea. The production of biohydrogen involves the use of living organisms to convert hydrogen via biological processes like fermentation and photolysis in a specialized container or a bioreactor. It can be produced from certain kinds of biomass, including biological waste. It’s now commercially produced as a biofuel and is considered the best among all biofuels as it can fulfill all energy demands and can be obtained from sustainable resources
• Green Hydrogen, on the other hand, is hydrogen produced by the electrolysis of water, using renewable electricity. This process results in very low or zero carbon emissions. Green hydrogen is considered green because it’s derived from water electrolysis using renewable electricity, which leads to significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than grey hydrogen, which is derived from fossil fuels without carbon capture.

What are the challenges faced in Green Hydrogen production?
• Green hydrogen constitutes less than 1 per cent of the world’s hydrogen production and usage (as per the Global Hydrogen Review 2023 by the International Energy Agency (IEA)). Green hydrogen production needs to grow significantly to align with Net Zero Emissions.
• It is not energy efficient as 30% of renewable energy is lost while producing hydrogen.
• The cost of the electrolyser technology and the capital for setting up a green hydrogen plant is too high.
• The current green hydrogen production costs per kilogram in India is too high for many industries to utilize them thus low-emission hydrogen adoption in different sectors is slow.
• Difficulty in Access to critical minerals such as nickel, platinum group metals and rare earth metals such as lanthanum, yttrium and zirconium could hinder scaling up electrolyser manufacturing capability in India.

How Biohydrogen can offer an alternative?
• It utilizes biogas as a readily available source, offering diversity in raw materials for hydrogen production.
• Biogas-based hydrogen production is often cost-effective, making it a practical solution for green hydrogen.
• The biohydrogen process inherently captures carbon from biogas, contributing to carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative outcomes. Biogas reforming can help reduce carbon deposition through the use of excess steam.
• Biohydrogen production methods can be integrated with existing natural gas infrastructure, minimizing the need for new infrastructure development.

Government initiatives:

National Green Hydrogen Mission
Target of 5 MMT of green hydrogen by 2030, 125 GW renewable energy for Green hydrogen production.
Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT): Funding domestic electrolyser manufacturing and green hydrogen production.
Green Hydrogen Hubs: Identifying and developing states/regions for large-scale hydrogen production/utilization.
Strategic Hydrogen Innovation Partnership (SHIP): Under this Public-private partnership framework R&D will be facilitated under the mission.
• Production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for Electrolyser manufacturing
• National Hydrogen Mission
• Global Biofuel Alliance – Leading efforts to establish global standards for Hydrogen from Biomass. 

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