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National Hydrogen Energy Mission.

By May 10, 2022May 22nd, 2023Economy, GS 3, Mains Answer Writing

Ques. Despite its promise, hydrogen technology is yet to be scaled up. Discuss the pros & cons of using hydrogen as an alternative fuel in context with National Hydrogen Energy Mission.


    • In Union Budget address, Finance Minister announced that India will launch its National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM) in 2021-22. And planning to use hydrogen as an energy source, dovetailing India’s growing renewable capacity with the hydrogen economy for reasons such as –
      • Energy Hungry Economy and Climate Change and Pollution –
        • India is the third largest economy and expected to make up a quarter of global demand growth during 2019-2040; reliance on oil imports to rise above 90% by 2040; gas import dependence to climb above 60% by 2040, therefore a viable source of renewable clean energy like Hydrogen is very much needed.

    Therefore, Energy future might lie with Hydrogen with various advantages such as –

    • High Energy density: Hydrogen has high energy content per unit mass, which is three times higher than gasoline.
    • Low vehicular Pollution: Hydrogen is being used for energy applications with suitable fuel cells. Helps to reduce transportation emissions. Hydrogen has a potential to contribute towards decarbonised, sustainable, secure energy future.
      • Hydrogen is seen as a direct replacement of fossil fuels, with specific advantages over traditional EVs.
    • Industrial applications: In Iron and steel industry, where it is proving difficult to meaningfully reduce emissions and also help improve air quality and strengthen energy security.
      • Hydrogen has the potential of transforming sectors like transportation, steel and iron and chemicals which contributes a third of all greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Lowest-cost option: for storing large quantities of electricity over days, weeks, or even months.

    However, the future for Hydrogen may not be that bright because –

    • Lack of technical feasibility: Several key challenges related to materials, including new material development, electrolytes, storage, safety, and standards, need to be addressed.
    • Non viability: The maintenance costs for fuel cells post-completion of a plant can be costly, like in South Korea.
    • High investment: The commercial usage of hydrogen as a fuel and in industries requires mammoth investment in R&D of such technology and infrastructure for production, storage, transportation and demand creation for hydrogen.
    • Looking at both the sides, Need of the hour is building up of Long term policy framework for infrastructure and skills which will help in reducing perceived risks, enhancing confidence, increased investments, lowering costs along with building up confidence in private investment, create market demand with policy interventions, develop standards and regulations which should not hurdle the growth.