Government institutes expert committee on coal-based hydrogen production

The government has constituted a task force and expert committee to prepare a road map for coal-based hydrogen production. This is aimed at contributing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda of a hydrogen-based economy in a clean manner.

According to the coal ministry’s press statement, “Ministry of Coal has constituted two committees today, one to oversee the program and another of experts to give guidance to the Ministry,”.

The task force has been constituted under the chairmanship of Coal Additional Secretary Vinod Kumar Tiwari. Its broad terms of reference include monitoring of activities towards achieving coal-based hydrogen production and usage and coordination with Coal Gasification Mission and NITI Aayog.

The broad terms of reference of the expert committee include identifying experts in India and co-opting as members, desk-based review of progress in hydrogen technology and also reviewing ongoing research projects in hydrogen technology.

The goal is also to identify activities for the implementation of coal-based hydrogen production and usage and assist the task force in the implementation of the same.

The expert committee is expected to submit its report in three months. In his Independence Day speech, the Prime Minister had announced a National Hydrogen Mission.

Since coal is an important source 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 emission. 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 emissions.

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