Govt. announced Hydrogen Mission to expedite production of Coal-based Hydrogen in India

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New Delhi: The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi announced a Hydrogen Mission.

Coal, one of the important sources of hydrogen making (Brown Hydrogen) apart from Natural Gas (Grey hydrogen) and renewable energy (Green Hydrogen) through electrolysis. In the case of renewable energy (Green Hydrogen) surplus, solar power is used to electrolyze water into hydrogen and oxygen. The global emphasis is on substituting liquid fuels with hydrogen (as fuel in vehicles), storage of surplus renewable power as hydrogen (as power cannot be stored at a cost-effective price), and cutting down emissions.

However, Coal has not been encouraged elsewhere because of the fear that while extracting hydrogen via coal (from the moisture embedded in coal) there may be carbon emission. Almost 100% of Hydrogen produced in India is through Natural Gas.

Globally, 73 MT Hydrogen is used for refining, ammonia making, and another pure use, and about 42 MT is used for Methanol, steel making, and other mixed uses. The cost of Hydrogen produced from coal can be cheaper and less sensitive to imports when compared with hydrogen production through electrolysis and Natural Gas respectively.

Indian coal reserves could however become a great source of hydrogen.

In light of the above, the Ministry of Coal has constituted 2 Committees on 7th September one to oversee the program and another of experts to give guidance to the Ministry. This is aimed at contributing to PM& #39s agenda of a hydrogen-based economy in a clean manner.

Task Force constituted under the Chairmanship of Shri Vinod Kumar Tiwari, Additional Secretary Coal has Shri R.K. Malhotra, Director General (FIPI)/ Former Chairman & Director (R&D) IOCL, Project Adviser, MoC, JS level officers from MNRE, PNG, Steel, Chemical and Fertiliser, Director level officer from CIL, NLCIL, IOCL, CMPDI, SAIL, and Director (Tech.) MoC/CM Shri Peeyush Kumar – Member Secretary.

The broad terms of reference of Task Force are the identification of role to be played by each stakeholder Ministry, coordination with Stakeholder Ministries, monitoring of activities towards achieving coal-based Hydrogen production and usage, setting up sub-committees to achieve the objective, and coordinate with Coal Gasification Mission and NITI Aayog.

Further, the Expert Committee under the chairmanship of Shri R.K. Malhotra, Director General (FIPI)/ Former Chairman &Director (R&D) IOCL will have Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Director, Steel Research Technology Mission of India, Prof K.K. Pant, IIT Delhi, Dr. Anjan Ray, Indian Institute of Petroleum CSIR, Dehradun, Director, Engineers India Limited and Director(T) MoC/ Shri Peeyush Kumar, CM: Member Secretary.

The broad terms of reference of Expert Committee are Identifying experts in India and co-opting as members, desk-based review of progress in hydrogen technology and also review ongoing research projects in Hydrogen technology, coordinate with various national/international technology institutions in hydrogen, prepare a road map for coal-based Hydrogen production and usage including economic viability, environmental sustainability and policy enablers required, identifying activities for implementation of coal-based hydrogen production and usage and assisting Taskforce in implementation of Coal-based Hydrogen production and usage.

 The expert committee is expected to submit the report in three months.