Daily News Analysis

Coal Based Hydrogen Production

9th September, 2021 Economy

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Context:

  • Ministry of Coal Constituted Task Force and Expert Committee to Prepare Road Map for Coal based Hydrogen Production.

Details:

  • The Ministry of Coal has constituted 2 Committees, one to oversee the program and another of experts to give guidance to the Ministry.
  • This is aimed at contributing to the agenda of a hydrogen-based economy in a clean manner.

The Task Force constituted is chaired by the Additional Secretary, Coal and has the following terms of reference:

  • 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.
  • To coordinate with Coal Gasification Mission and NITI Aayog.

The Expert Committee has the following terms of reference:

  • 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.
  • Assisting Task force in implementation of Coal based Hydrogen production and usage.

Background:

  • Coal is one of the important sources of hydrogen making apart from natural gas and renewable energy through electrolysis.
  • Hydrogen obtained from coal is called Brown Hydrogen.
  • Coal has not been encouraged in hydrogen production 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.
  • 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.
  • Production of hydrogen from coal will have challenges in terms of high emissions and CCUS will play an important role. However, when the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide formed during coal to hydrogen process are trapped and stored in an environmentally sustainable manner (CCS and CCUS), then, Indian coal reserves could become a great source of hydrogen.