National Hydrogen Mission: Blue, Grey, Brown Hydrogen, Types of Hydrogen UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

National Hydrogen Mission (NHM) was announced in the Union Budget for 2021-2022 by the finance minister. NHM was expected to draw up a road map for the usage of hydrogen as an energy source. National Hydrogen Mission aims to push for the implementation of hydrogen energy that would drive the country in the right direction of making the best out of the renewable energy sector. The Hydrogen Policy is all set to capitalize on the most abundant elements on earth for a better, safer, and cleaner alternative fuel option.

Hydrogen has the potential to be a game-changer in the clean energy sector, as it is a clean, versatile, and abundant source of energy. The National Hydrogen Mission has set ambitious targets for the development of hydrogen technologies in India, and if successful, it could pave the way for a more sustainable future. In this article, we will take a closer look at the National Hydrogen Mission and the Types of Hydrogen under this mission.


What is National Hydrogen Mission?

National Hydrogen Mission mission, also called National Hydrogen Energy Mission, was an initiative to make the best use of Hydrogen, which is one of the most abundant elements on earth. The main goal of this mission is to take advantage of this cleaner fuel. On the 75th independence day, the Prime Minister of India announced the hydrogen policy. Under this policy, India is targeting 3/4th of its hydrogen from renewable sources by 2050. The National Hydrogen Mission will also help to reduce the impact of climate change.

National Hydrogen Mission UPSC Notes

Hydrogen is considered a potential fuel that can replace fossil fuels in the future. India’s target for 2022 is to generate 175 GW of renewable energy and 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030, and this mission is expected to boost this process. The National Hydrogen Mission will emphasize the hydrogen from clean energy sources.

Types of Hydrogen

Generating electricity from hydrogen does not produce pollution because the by-product is only heat and water. However, the process of producing hydrogen can cause pollution. Based on the source of production, the types of hydrogen are Grey, Brown, Green, and Blue.

Grey Hydrogen

Hydrogen from hydrocarbons is called grey hydrogen. This is the most common method for hydrogen production currently. It produced carbon dioxide as a by-product.  The carbon dioxide generated during this process is usually released into the atmosphere, making grey hydrogen a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Black/Brown Hydrogen

Brown hydrogen is produced using coal as its feedstock. But this process causes high pollution, and carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are released into the atmosphere, making it an environmentally unsustainable option.

Blue Hydrogen

It is the hydrogen produced from hydrocarbons where the emissions generated from the process can be captured and stored. They are stored underground by industrial carbon capture storage (CSS). This is a better alternative compared to grey hydrogen. Blue hydrogen is considered a transitional fuel as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to grey hydrogen, but it still relies on natural gas as its primary feedstock.

Green Hydrogen

Just like the name goes, green hydrogen is generated from renewable sources like wind and solar. During the process, electricity splits water into hydrogen and water. Green hydrogen is considered to be the most sustainable and environmentally friendly type of hydrogen, and it has the potential to revolutionize the energy industry by providing a reliable source of clean energy.

National Hydrogen Mission Features

National Hydrogen Mission will lead to producing clean fuel, and it will reduce India’s dependence on fossil fuels and crude oil imports. Below mentioned are the features of the National Hydrogen Mission.

  • Green hydrogen manufacturer can store their renewable power for up to 30 days by coordinating with the distribution companies. The companies may get distribution licensees at concessional prices.
  • Another feature of the National Hydrogen Mission is the manufacturing companies of green hydrogen will get a tax-free inter-state transmission for 25 years.
  • Ensure “grid to market” connectivity to ensure on-time delivery and attract investors.
  • Single Portal to ease the business process and activities
  • Manufacturers can set up their infrastructure near the ports for trading activities, but they have to pay charges to the representative port authorities.
  • The objective of the National Hydrogen Mission is to boost production to meet domestic demand and to become an exporter of Green Hydrogen.

Activities Carried out under National Hydrogen Mission

  • Goal-oriented development and research
  • A robust framework for regulations of hydrogen technologies
  • To create infrastructures and volumes
  • Demonstrations in niche applications

National Green Hydrogen Mission

Green hydrogen is the hydrogen produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. It is an efficient and clean energy carrier.

  • Hydrogen is found in organic compounds, water, petrol, natural gas, propane, and methanol. Hydrogen as a fuel can be used directly in existing internal combustion engines and turbines. It is also an alternative to electricity generation.
  • Hydrogen in the transport sector has proven to be more beneficial than other alternatives. Additionally, it is possible to store hydrogen on board.
  • The Hydrogen policy would be a crucial step that would help the government to meet the target of producing 5 million tonnes of Green Hydrogen by 2030.
  • The green hydrogen policy would aid the government’s efforts to achieve the commitments made at COP 26.

Green Hydrogen in India

Due to the favorable geographic conditions, India has a huge advantage in harnessing the power of hydrogen and producing hydrogen.

  • The demand for hydrogen in India is at around 6 metric tonnes per year, mainly from geographic secondary sectors.
  • The demand for hydrogen is expected to rise by at least 5-fold by 2050. This means by 2050, the demand for hydrogen will be around 28 MT due to cost reduction, technological advancements, and initiatives to reduce carbon footprint.
  • Production of green hydrogen in India can become cost-effective in the future while will ensure self-sufficiency and energy security.
  • The government has scaled up the gas pipeline infrastructure and introduced reforms for the power grid and smart grids. These steps would definitely integrate renewable energy.

Challenges in National Hydrogen Mission

One of the major challenges for using hydrogen commercially is the economic sustainability of extracting blue hydrogen or green hydrogen. The technology used for the production and use of hydrogen is at the nascent stage and expensive as well, which again leads to the high cost of hydrogen production. The high maintenance cost of a plant’s fuel cells is also a challenge. Using hydrogen for commercial purposes requires a huge investment in technology and infrastructure, storage, transportation, and demand creation for hydrogen.

Need for National Hydrogen Mission

The following are the reasons behind promoting the National Hydrogen Mission in India.

  • Electricity generation in India is majorly dependent on fossil fuels which are nonrenewable. If hydrogen can replace fossil fuels and help in energy production, pollution will be reduced to a large extent. Additionally, the import of coal will be reduced as well.
  • Hydrogen is energy efficient, lighter, and the most abundant element on earth. Harnessing hydrogen power would help the transportation, iron, steel, and chemical industries immensely.
  • Proper implementation of the National Hydrogen Mission would lead to clean fuels and reduce the dependence on crude oil imports and fossil fuels.
  • Plastic and bio can be converted into hydrogen, and the hydrogen missions would help tackle twin energy security problems and waste management problems.
  • With increasing investment in R&D, compatible legislation, capacity building, and the opportunity for demand creation, India is at an advantage. It is expected that initiatives can propel India to become a hub of hydrogen power. Also, soon India will start exporting hydrogen to its neighbors and beyond.

National Hydrogen Mission UPSC

National Hydrogen Mission comes under the environmental pollution and government policies section of UPSC GS-2 Syllabus and GS-3 Syllabus. Candidates who are well-versed in the National Hydrogen Mission will have a better understanding of India’s energy policy and the country’s efforts to address global environmental challenges, which are crucial topics in the UPSC exam. That’s why candidates must develop a comprehensive understanding of this mission with the help of notes, along with the right Environment UPSC books.

National Hydrogen Mission MCQ

Question: What is the target year for the National Hydrogen Mission to achieve a cumulative hydrogen production capacity of 3 MT per annum? a. 2025 b. 2027 c. 2030 d. 2035

Answer: c. 2030

Question: Which of the following sectors is NOT a focus area of the National Hydrogen Mission? a. Transport b. Industry c. Agriculture d. Power Generation

Answer: c. Agriculture

Question: Which ministry is responsible for implementing the National Hydrogen Mission? a. Ministry of Power b. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy c. Ministry of Science and Technology d. Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

Answer: b. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

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