Even though only 2,000 MW of electricity is generated in Nepal at present, it has not been fully consumed. Despite the fact that the industrial demand for electricity is around 500 MW, the distribution infrastructure is not adequate and up to 400 MW is being wasted. The lack of electricity generated by investing an average of Rs 200 million per megawatt is discouraging the private sector from investing more.
On the other hand, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is also worried that it will go bankrupt after millions of rupees of electricity is wasted on a daily basis.
On the one hand, it has not been possible to increase domestic consumption, on the other hand, it has not been possible to sell Nepali electricity to India and Bangladesh due to lack of homework and infrastructure for cross-border electricity market. This could have a negative impact not only on the Electricity Authority and the project but also on the financial sector, which has invested billions in hydropower projects, as well as the economy of the country as a whole.
Meanwhile, research by Kathmandu University (KU) has raised new hopes. KU is studying the option of storing unused electricity. According to the KU study, if successful, a large amount of wasted electricity can be used when needed, despite the demand. KU claims that hydrogen energy can be generated using wasted or wasted electricity and stored for up to a year. KU claims that the hydrogen energy produced by KU can be used for cooking, running vehicles and even importing petroleum products in the industrial sector.
What is hydrogen energy?
Like oxygen, methane, carbon and hydrogen are also a type of gas energy. One kilogram of hydrogen can store 33 units of electricity. This means that the current market price of electricity is about 400 rupees. Similarly, a kilo of hydrogen can drive a car up to 70 kilometers, which is 400 times more than a battery of the same capacity.
It is also said that the use of one kg of hydrogen will help reduce the carbon produced by the use of coal, petroleum and other fuels from 7 to 29 kg.
If the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) gives the wasted electricity at surrender price, the production of hydrogen will be around US १ 1 per kg.
About 70 percent of the cost of hydrogen production is electricity. Therefore, the cheaper the electricity, the cheaper the hydrogen can be produced, said Dr. Head of Green Hydrogen Lab. Biraj Singh Thapa said.
He says, ‘It is possible to produce one kg of green hydrogen in Nepal at a cost of less than one dollar. The same thing happens in other countries of the world up to 5 dollars.
As soon as a kilo of hydrogen is produced at an average of Rs 100, it becomes cheaper than petroleum products. Abhishek Subedi, a researcher at Green Hydrogen Lab, says that it will be cheaper to cook food as soon as the government subsidy on cooking gas is removed.
Now in India, cooking has started by filling hydrogen gas in LPG cylinders. Even buses in Delhi are powered by hydrogen energy cylinders. KU Vice Chancellor Bhola Thapa said that Nepal is also preparing to run cars from hydrogen cell in the near future.
What is the use risk?
In Nepal, hydrogen is understood by many as a ‘bomb’. There seems to be little debate about the usefulness of hydrogen. But in the global market, from operating hydrogen air buses from the UAE to Australia, bullet trains in France and buses and trucks in other countries have run on hydrogen.
Researcher Subedi said there were very few accidents involving local use, transportation or storage of hydrogen. “If there is a fire in a vehicle with a petrol engine, there is a risk of the vehicle exploding directly. But when a vehicle using a hydrogen cylinder catches fire, the fear of the vehicle crashing is reduced as the gas goes straight to the sky, ‘he said.
Hydrogen energy quality
Hydrogen produced in Nepal is pure green hydrogen. But many countries around the world are producing a wide variety of hydrogen. Other countries are producing hydrogen in gray, blue, purple, pink, red, yellow, white, brown, black and other colors, says Thapa. But a study by KU found that pure green hydrogen production was possible in Nepal, he said.
Help reduce carbon emissions
Recently, various countries have focused on hydrogen production with the goal of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
Norway in 2015, Sweden in 2017, Portugal in 2018 to reduce carbon emissions by 2045 to 2050. Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Denmark, France and Japan have also committed to reduce carbon emissions to zero in 2019. Similarly, Hungary and Spain have made similar commitments in 2020.
Even though Nepal has agreed to a campaign to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050, it is not prepared to move forward with any plan on how to achieve it.
A study by KU has shown that at least 130 to 160 gigawatts of hydrogen is required annually to meet this goal. For this, 400 million metric tons of green hydrogen needs to be produced from 5 terawatts or 5,000 megawatts of electricity.
Which country is using hydrogen for what?
The Korean car company Hyundai is testing the construction of a truck that can travel up to a thousand kilometers once it has hydrogen. Switzerland has launched the world’s first two hydrogen buses. In France, Alstom has succeeded in running a hydrogen-powered passenger train.
Similarly, Toyota has also started production of hydrogen cars in India. The Airbus Company is working to operate the Airbus from Hydrogen by 2035.
China has also announced plans to set up five large hydrogen plants within five years. The UK has announced plans to build a अर्ब 13 billion hydrogen economy by 2050. Dozens of countries, including the United States, Japan, and Norway, have announced plans to build a hydrogen society.
Hydrogen power plant in ‘Green Hydrogen Lab’ set up by KU for study purposes. Oil exporting countries are being linked to hydrogen production. Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has announced plans to build a hydrogen plant by generating 4,000 megawatts of electricity from solar and wind. His strategy is to capture the बजार 700 billion global hydrogen market by investing 5 billion.
Oman, another major oil exporter, has also announced plans to build a green hydrogen plant using 25 gigawatts of solar and wind energy. In India too, Indian Railways has called for a contract for a hydrogen train. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a ३ 1.35 trillion hydrogen mission and is implementing it. Oil Corporation of India has set up a plant in Mathura to produce one tonne of hydrogen daily.
What is the potential of Nepal?
Hydropower generation in Nepal is projected to reach around 8,500 MW by 2028, ie in the next seven years. But the figures show that the consumption will not exceed 3,500 MW by then.
KU claims that more than 200,000 tons of hydrogen energy can be produced annually by 2025 by producing hydrogen from such unused electricity. By 2028, about 350,000 tons of hydrogen can be produced using only wasted electricity.
By 2035, 600 kilotons of hydrogen will be needed to replace 30 percent of petroleum imports. Even if only 20 percent of imports are replaced by 2030, 338 kilotons of hydrogen will be needed. KU claims that the current savings can be generated from electricity.
KU is currently testing the Maruti 800 car to run on hydrogen. He claims to have driven a car from a hydrogen cell within the next six months.
Claims to be a boon for the industry
At present, gas consuming devices are entering the industries. Nepal’s cement industry is estimated to emit 13.5 million tonnes of carbon by consuming coal worth Rs 26 billion annually.
At present, only 40 percent of households in Nepal use LPG for cooking and more than 40 tons of gas is being consumed monthly. KU also claims that it can be easily replaced by hydrogen.
On the other hand, there is an annual demand of 800,000 tons of urea fertilizer in Nepal. The industry, which produces 800,000 metric tons of urea annually, needs 80,000 tons of hydrogen. When the demand in Nepal gradually increases to 2 million tons, 200,000 tons of hydrogen urea fertilizer will be needed only for the industry.
It is said that importing coal worth Rs 26 billion will displace the coal used by industries. There is also a big reduction in carbon emissions.
Government policy required for commercial production
Although there are 26 different acts, rules and regulations related to energy, the subject of hydrogen energy is not mentioned anywhere. Thapa said. He said that the sooner hydrogen policy is enacted to allow its commercial production, storage and sale, the sooner hydrogen can be produced from wasted electricity in Nepal.
For this, the government can set up a National Hydrogen Initiative (National Hydrogen Initiative) or an organization of the same name and do the necessary homework through it, Thapa said. Heads of government in different countries are implementing hydrogen policies through expressways. In Nepal too, all parties concerned should come together and move forward to use it as a reliable and modern medium of green energy. Thapa says.