Daily Editorial Analysis for 22nd April 2021

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  5. Daily Editorial Analysis for 22nd April 2021

A fresh push for green hydrogen

Why in News

  • India is going to join 15 other countries in the hydrogen club as it prepares to launch the National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM).

Key Points

  • World is aiming to produce 1.45 million tons of green hydrogen by 2023.
  • Currently, India consumes around 5.5 million tons of hydrogen which primarily produced from imported fossil fuels.
  • According to the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), green hydrogen demand could be up to 1 million tons in India by 2030, across application in sectors such as ammonia, steel, methanol, transport and energy storage.


  • Hydrogen is a non-toxic colorless gas, and most abundant element on the Earth.
  • It is estimated that 90% of all atoms are hydrogen atoms, comprising around three quarters of the total mass in the universe.
  • There are two types of Hydrogen:
  • Blue Hydrogen: Hydrogen which produces by Fossil Fuel is known as Blue Hydrogen.
  • Green Hydrogen: Hydrogen which produces by non-fossil fuel sources are called Green Hydrogen.

Green Hydrogen

  • Hydrogen can also be produced from non-fossil sources, by the process of electrolysis of water and this is called Green Hydrogen.
  • It produces by the process of Electrolysis using an electric current to break water, H2O, into its component elements of hydrogen and oxygen.

Significance of Hydrogen

  • Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel burned with oxygen.
  • Hydrogen can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines.
  • It is also used as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.
  • Hydrogen fuel is environment friendly and non-toxic substance.
  • It is renewable also and can be re-produce.

National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM)

  • In the Union Budget of 2021-22, Finance Ministry announced about the launch of National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM).
  • It will focus on the production of Green Hydrogen as a best alternative of fossil fuel.
  • It will also help in accomplishing India’s target to produce 175GW renewable energy up to 2022.

Challenges in production of Hydrogen

  • The weight and volume of hydrogen storage systems are presently too high which results in inadequate vehicle range compared to conventional petroleum fueled vehicles.
  • Energy efficiency is a challenge for all hydrogen storage approaches. The energy associated with compression and liquefaction must be considered for compressed and liquid hydrogen technologies.
  • Its durability is inadequate. It needed materials and components that allow hydrogen storage systems with a lifetime of 1500 cycles.
  • Its Refueling time are too long.
  • Expense to produce Hydrogen is very high.


  • Decentralized hydrogen production:
  • It must be promoted through open access of renewable power to an electrolyze (which splits water to form H2 and O2 using electricity).
  • Currently, most renewable energy resources that can produce low-cost electricity are situated far from potential demand centers. If hydrogen were to be shipped, it would significantly erode the economics of it.
  • A more viable option would be wheeling electricity directly from the solar plant. For instance, wheeling electricity from a solar plant in Kutch to a refinery in Vadodara could lower the transportation cost by 60%, compared to delivering hydrogen using trucks.
  • However, the electricity tariffs could double when supply open access power across State boundaries.
  • Therefore, operationalizing open access in letter and spirit, as envisioned in the Electricity Act, 2003, must be an early focus.
  • Need mechanisms to ensure access to round-the-clock renewable power for decentralized hydrogen production.
  • To minimize intermittency associated with renewable energy, for a given level of hydrogen production capacity, a green hydrogen facility will typically oversize the electrolyze, and store hydrogen to ensure continuous hydrogen supply.
  • However, such a configuration would also generate significant amounts of excess electricity.
  • Therefore, as we scale up to the target of having 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030, aligning hydrogen production needs with broader electricity demand in the economy would be critical.
  • Blend of green hydrogen in existing processes.
  • Improving the reliability of hydrogen supply by augmenting green hydrogen with conventionally produced hydrogen will significantly improve the economics of the fuel.
  • It also helps build a technical understanding of the processes involved in handling hydrogen on a large scale.
  • The policymakers must facilitate investments in early-stage piloting and the research and development needed to advance the technology for use in India.
  • The growing interest in hydrogen is triggered by the anticipated steep decline in electrolyze costs.
  • Public funding will have to lead the way, but the private sector, too, has significant gains to be made by securing its energy future.
  • India must learn from the experience of the National Solar Mission and focus on domestic manufacturing.
  • Establishing an end-to-end electrolyze manufacturing facility would require measures extending beyond the existing performance linked incentive programme.
  • India needs to secure supplies of raw materials that are needed for this technology.

Way Forward

  • Major institutions like the DRDO, BARC and CSIR laboratories have been developing electrolyze and fuel cell technologies.
  • There is a need for a manufacturing strategy that can leverage the existing strengths and mitigate threats by integrating with the global value chain.
  • Hydrogen may be lighter than air, but it will take some heavy lifting to get the ecosystem in place.

GS PAPER II & III                               

Data and a new global order

Why in News

  • The shift of global power from the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific raises strategic questions for India.
  • The Industrial Revolution restructured the global manufacturing order to Asia’s disadvantage.
  • But in the ‘Digital Data Revolution’, algorithms requiring massive amounts of data determine innovation, the nature of productivity growth, and military power.

Mobile digital payment interconnections impact society and the international system, having three strategic implications:

  • Because of the nature and pervasiveness of digital data, military and civilian systems are symbiotic. Cybersecurity is national security, and this requires both a new military doctrine and a diplomatic framework.
  • The blurring of distinctions between domestic and foreign policy and the replacement of global rules with issue-based understanding converge with the growth of smart-phone based e-commerce, which ensures that massive amounts of data give a sustained productivity advantage to Asia.
  • Data streams are now at the center of global trade and countries’ economic and national power.

India, thus, has the capacity to negotiate new rules as an equal with the U.S. and China.

A renewed strategy

  • Innovation based on data streams has contributed to China’s rise as the second-largest economy and the “near-peer” of the U.S.
  • The U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander recently said the erosion of conventional deterrence capabilities was the greatest danger in the strategic competition with China.
  • China’s technology weakness is the dependence on semiconductors and its powerlessness against U.S. sanctions on banks, 5G and cloud computing companies.
  • But its Fourteenth Five Year Plan emphasizes a $1.4-trillion strategy for the development of science and technology.
  • China’s digital technology-led capitalism is moving fast to utilize the economic potential of data, pushing the recently launched e-yuan and shaking the dollar-based settlement for global trade.
  • China has a $53-trillion mobile payments market and it is the global leader in the online transactions’ arena, controlling over 50% of the global market value.
  • India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) volume is expected to cross $1 trillion by 2025.
  • The U.S., in contrast, lags behind, with only around 30% of consumers using digital means and with the total volume of mobile payments less than $100 billion.
  • The global strategic balance will depend on new data standards.
  • Earlier this year, China formed a joint venture with SWIFT for cross-border payments and suggested foundational principles for interoperability between central bank digital currencies at the Bank for International Settlements.
  • The U.S., far behind in mobile payments, is falling back on data alliances and sanctions to maintain its global position.
  • India’s goal is to become a $5-trillion economy by 2025.
  • While the country is fast-tracking its digital rupee, the challenge is promoting engagement with major powers while retaining its data for innovation and competitive advantage.

Fluid dynamics

  • India fits into the U.S. frame to provide leverage.
  • China wants India, also a digital power, to see it as a partner, not a rival. And China remains the largest trading partner of both the U.S. and India despite sanctions and border skirmishes.
  • India, like China, is uncomfortable with treating Western values as universal values and with the U.S. interpretation of Freedom of Navigation rules in others’ territorial waters.
  • New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific vision is premised on “ASEAN centrality and the common pursuit of prosperity”.
  • The European Union recently acknowledged that the path to its future is through an enhanced influence in the Indo-Pacific, while stressing that the strategy is not “anti-China”.
  • The U.S. position in trade, that investment creates new markets, makes it similar to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • India alone straddles both U.S. and China-led strategic groupings, providing an equity-based perspective to competing visions.
  • It must be prepared to play a key role in molding rules for the hyper-connected world, facing off both the U.S. and China to realize its potential of becoming the second-largest economy.

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