Hydrogen and derived e-fuels – the vaccine we need for climate change

This article by Siddharth Mayur – CEO, H2E Power Systems discusses how India can potentially take a dominant position in adopting Green Hydrogen for its energy needs and become a supplier to the world.

Green Hydrogen is the new Oil. By 2050, clean and renewable technologies are expected to cater half of the world’s energy requirements.

India stands on the cusp of the greatest opportunity to become the world leader in Hydrogen technologies and perhaps become a net exporter of Hydrogen to the world. India currently is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases amounting to nearly 7% of global emissions. A progressive India will need double its current energy requirement to keep pace with the growth appetite of the country and this will result in furthering the emissions. The most effective way to meet the demands and reduce emissions is ‘Hydrogen & e-Fuels derived from the Hydrogen process’.

Hydrogen technologies are on to the path of commercialisation

Hydrogen production, hydrogen storage, hydrogen dispensing, and hydrogen conversion technologies have seen rapid developments in the last decade. These technologies are nearing commercialization and are fast becoming competitive with the existing energy technologies. From powering a home, running an industrial facility to driving our car – Hydrogen has use cases in almost every walk of life. And this has propelled the policy makers to seriously consider a Commercial Roadmap for Green Hydrogen in India.

Hydrogen and India

India was nowhere close in the digital race nor the genome race. With COVID, Indian companies have been the key to the vaccine supply across the world and India in the coming decade can become the Hydrogen supplier to the world.

The commercial success of any technology is dependent on the localization of the value chain. For India to build scale, create sustainable demand and high level of investment in the Green Hydrogen ecosystem, it will be important to address the production linked incentives for the complete bouquet, from powder to MEA (Membrane Electrode Assemblies) and from components to systems.

Hydrogen Production pathway in India is going to be different from what we see across the world. India not only has the greatest renewable potential, but we also have a huge pile of waste which is a regular feedstock and can be gasified to produce Green Hydrogen, a double whammy in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions. A hybrid model with waste and renewables can have far reaching impact on the rural and agricultural sector in India.

e-fuels – the low hanging fruit

Another important technology that is key for India is Power to X, producing e-fuels like Ammonia, Methanol etc. from co-electrolysis can be supplied as a green fuel to the existing infrastructure. In the energy transition to the Hydrogen economy, the e-Fuels will play an important role in decarbonizing our world, while saving on major infrastructure changes. Ammonia and Methanol are easy to transport, store and use as compared to Hydrogen in industries like Marine, Fertilizer, Electricity production and utility in mobility sector. Tractors and utility vehicles using methanol fuel with fuel cell will add a new dimension to the Hydrogen economy.

Multiple applications for the e-fuels derived from Hydrogen Process

Commercial roadmap for Hydrogen

The commercial road map for Hydrogen surprisingly goes through stationary applications. The Iron and steel industry, cement industry all put together contribute to nearly 10% of the total emissions and are the low hanging fruits that can bring a fundamental change. Blending of Hydrogen with Natural Gas, providing Combined Cold, Heat and Power solutions on distributed scale can help the environment. A few specific use cases are presented below:

– 1 ton of Steel produced using Pet Coke releases nearly 1.8 T of Carbon, with Hydrogen this process will come close to NetZero.

– Cement production is a big contributor to carbon and particulate matter emission, the carbon that can be used to produce Syngas and Methanol and used in fuel cells.

– For every home to become carbon neutral, using Fuel Cells with combined cold, heat and power capability will make every home a power plant and reduce emissions drastically while providing a reliable and affordable electricity alternative.

– A Fuel Cell in every farm can catapult a small farm into a factory.

– Fuel Cells to replace DG sets, will bring down the cost of energy and emissions considerably.

In conclusion

A bus running on Hydrogen sends a strong message, but Hydrogen replacing Pet Coke will send a soothing signal to our Ailing Earth! Setting our priorities right will ensure an effective energy transition and gift us all a cleaner, healthier and greener world to live in. One Fuel; Multiple solutions that is the strength of Hydrogen and for India to harness the vast sun, wind and waste potential, the nation has to move quickly on policy front and provide incentives to private players to commercially deploy these solutions for stationery and mobility applications. This is an idea whose time has come.

Talking Hydrogen is the in-thing in today’s time, but few have the patience, foresight and ability to go the distance and actualize this opportunity of a life-time. My Company h2e Power has undertaken this audacious goal of providing solutions that are 24×7, clean, green, reliable & affordable and this, I believe is the Vaccine we need for climate crises.

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