Exploring the Viability of Green Hydrogen as a Transportation Fuel

GS-3 Mains : Energy

Short Notes or Revision Notes

Question : Evaluate the potential of green hydrogen as a viable transportation fuel in India, considering its zero-emission properties, energy storage capabilities, and versatile applications.


  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is supporting pilot projects to test green hydrogen as a fuel for vehicles.

Pilot Project Scheme

  • Aims to develop technologies for:
    • Green hydrogen use in buses, trucks, and cars (fuel cell/internal combustion engines).
    • Hydrogen refueling station infrastructure.
    • Other innovative uses of hydrogen to reduce transport emissions (e.g., blending hydrogen with methanol/ethanol in fuels).

What is Hydrogen?

  • Hydrogen (H) is the lightest and most abundant element.
  • It’s a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, and highly combustible gas.

Hydrogen Extraction

  • Hydrogen exists in compounds and needs extraction for fuel use.
  • Green Hydrogen:Produced using renewable sources (wind, solar, hydropower) through electrolysis (splitting water with electricity).
  • Grey Hydrogen:Extracted from natural gas through steam methane reforming (SMR), releasing CO2 emissions.
  • Blue Hydrogen:Captures and stores CO2 emissions from natural gas-based hydrogen production.

Significance of Green Hydrogen

  • Zero Emissions:Unlike conventional methods, green hydrogen production has minimal environmental impact.
  • Energy Storage:Stores excess renewable energy for later use, balancing the grid and enhancing energy security.
  • Versatile Applications:Green hydrogen can be used as fuel in transportation, industry, and heating.
  • Economic Opportunities:Creates jobs, attracts investment in infrastructure, and promotes electrolyzer and fuel cell technology.
  • Climate Mitigation:Reduces carbon emissions and helps combat climate change.


  • Transportation Risks:Gaseous hydrogen is highly flammable and requires safety considerations during transportation.
  • Higher Cost:Green hydrogen production is currently expensive due to high costs of renewable energy and electrolysis technology.
  • Limited Infrastructure:India lacks hydrogen refueling stations compared to developed countries.

Way Forward

  • Expanding renewable energy use is crucial for India’s energy transition.
  • Green hydrogen offers the potential to decarbonize sectors like transportation.
  • Hydrogen is expected to be widely used in future vehicles, creating a large market.
  • Large-scale adoption of green hydrogen fuel can significantly benefit India.

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