G20 High-Level Principles on Hydrogen

The global shift towards clean and sustainable energy sources is gaining momentum as countries strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. In this context, India has proposed a discussion on global standards for ‘green, clean, and low carbon’ hydrogen at the recent G20 Energy Transition Working Group meeting.

Promoting Green, Clean, and Low Carbon Hydrogen

India’s proposal aims to establish global standards for hydrogen production that align with sustainability goals. The proposed emission limit for hydrogen production is up to 2 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent per kg of hydrogen. Initially, the proposal focused on ‘green hydrogen,’ but after suggestions from member countries, considerations for ‘clean and low carbon’ hydrogen were also included.

Laying Down Carbon Emissions Standard

India’s proposed draft of the ‘G20 High-Level Principles on Hydrogen’ underscores the importance of establishing the carbon emissions standard specifically at the production stage. This means that the proposed standard does not include emissions incidental to distribution to end-users or life-cycle greenhouse emissions. By focusing on production emissions, the aim is to incentivize the adoption of cleaner and more sustainable production methods.

Diverse Sources of Hydrogen

During the discussions, some countries advocated for the inclusion of nuclear, hydro, and low carbon energy as additional sources for hydrogen production. Recognizing the importance of diversifying energy sources, these suggestions highlight the need to explore various options to produce hydrogen in an environmentally friendly manner.

Defining Green Hydrogen

India’s National Green Hydrogen Mission, launched in January, provides a clear definition of green hydrogen as hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources. With India’s abundant solar and other renewable energy resources, the country sees an opportunity to become a leading producer and exporter of green hydrogen. This aligns with the global push for sustainable energy solutions.

The Importance of Consensus

As the world moves towards a net-zero emissions future, reaching a consensus on the definition and standards for green hydrogen is crucial. Green, clean, and low-carbon hydrogen is expected to be traded internationally in the coming years. Establishing uniform standards will ensure transparency, facilitate trade, and enable the integration of hydrogen into the global energy system.

Emission Caps and International Standards

Different regions have set varying emission caps for hydrogen production. The European Commission has established a cap of 3.4 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent per kg of hydrogen produced and distributed. The UK defines ‘low carbon’ hydrogen as 2.4 kg of CO2 per kg of hydrogen, excluding distribution. The US Department of Energy initially defined “clean hydrogen” as up to 2 kg of CO2 equivalent per kg of hydrogen at the site of production, which was later extended to up to 4 kg of CO2 equivalent, considering lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.




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