Inexperienced hydrogen and Pakistan


The media lately reported signing of an MoU amongst 5 power corporations of Pakistan, principally PSEs, for pursuing “inexperienced hydrogen” alternatives.

Apparently, the step appears fairly revolutionary, particularly, when the given power supply is but to safe any sizeable foothold within the power mixture of even the developed world and hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels hardly account for 0.1% of the full international power consumption.

This text is a humble try at a quick overview of the choice and its potential relevance to Pakistan.


Because it doesn’t launch any greenhouse gases when burnt, due to this fact, hydrogen gasoline is the cleanest gasoline for transportation and energy technology.

When the supply for the electrical energy used to provide this gasoline is a fossil gasoline, the product known as ‘gray hydrogen’, which at the moment accounts for 98% of the combination annual international manufacturing of hydrogen. Technology of every ton of the identical releases 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

If the method additionally entails seize and storage of this carbon dioxide,, as a substitute of its launch into environment, then the product known as ‘blue hydrogen’. To date, hardly 0.1% of the globally emitted quantity of 37.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide is being captured.

As to inexperienced hydrogen, it’s obtained by means of electrolysis by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen by passing electrical present by means of the identical. The mentioned present is sourced from renewable sources, ie not involving greenhouse gasoline emissions at any stage.

Main challenges

The foremost problem in establishing a viable worth chain of inexperienced hydrogen is the related capital and working prices. The manufacturing price of inexperienced hydrogen at the moment ranges between $3 and $6 per kilogramme whereas that of gray between $0.5 and $1.7 per kg.

To cut back it to round $1.5/kg, amongst different steps, the pertaining industrial-scale electrolysers’ price is required to be diminished by 4 instances.

Additionally; a) In electrolysis, 9 kg of water produces one kg of hydrogen. Therefore, association of this water may also be a problem.

Moreover, primarily based upon the at the moment obtainable business electrolysis course of effectivity, the facility requirement for producing 1 kg of hydrogen would at the very least be 50 kilowatt-hour (kWh). Thus, economical technology of electrical energy from alternate sources can also be pivotal for the given enterprise case.

b) One other main price adder is the big infrastructural price. For instance, hydrogen pipelines might be 10-50% dearer than these for pure gasoline whereas storage tanks may even price larger.

The issue which performs no imply position in the identical is the low power content material by quantity of hydrogen. Thus, it takes about 3.3 CF of hydrogen to ship the identical power as 1 CF of pure gasoline.

This makes hydrogen’s storage, transportation and particularly compression way more price intensive. Compression alone requires nearly thrice the power to compress an identical quantity.

As well as, the related security elements alone ought to suffice for us to keep away from any experimentation alongside this avenue at this stage.

Hydrogen, having a a lot wider flammability band than pure gasoline, is vulnerable to ignite way more simply when blended even in small quantities with bizarre air, which mandates very stringent security necessities for related gear and operations, each.

Moreover, in lieu of its round 10 instances lesser particular gravity viz-a-viz pure gasoline, its storage requires very stringent sealing philosophy together with specialised cost-intensive sealing supplies and leak detection methods, particularly when its flames principally stay undetected with bare eye.

What additional complicates the state of affairs is that publicity of sure supplies to hydrogen, comparable to metal, iron, and many others, could cause their embrittlement and failure.

What’s to be finished

Thus, at current, hydrogen is a luxurious which solely international locations outfitted with deep pockets, a rigorous industrial security regime, confirmed dedication to atmosphere and a penchant for R&D, can afford.

As to Pakistan, our round debt within the power provide chain, T&D losses and abject lack of any technique for oil and gasoline reserves’ substitute ought to be ample to outline our priorities.

Thus, as a substitute of venturing into any unique avenues, eager deal with the next appears important:

1)We’re concentrating on to be producing 60% of our combination electrical energy by means of renewable sources by 2030. Truly, up to now out of the 39,722MW put in capability, 63% is contributed by fossil fuels. In hydel alone, whereas the potential is at the very least 60,000MW, we have now reached solely 9,000MW over the previous 76 years.

As to photo voltaic, which is focused to be 8% of the combination be 2030, the at the moment put in capability is 430MW. All indicators are there that we are going to miss all of the targets even on this standard entrance by large margins, which wants instant intervention.

2)Round 4 tcf of confirmed low to medium BTU pure gasoline lies stranded in numerous fields in Pakistan since lengthy. Efforts should be undertaken to harness these reserves for financial improvement.

Numerous choices might be thought of for a similar together with establishing mini-processing and LNG vegetation after which transporting this gasoline to industrial shops by means of trucking or mixing it with excessive BTU gasoline within the grid. Trucking wouldn’t solely save infrastructural prices but in addition the big T&D losses.

3)Pakistan’s every day requirement of HSD is round 120,000 bpd and the requirement is usually fulfilled by means of imports, whereas, primarily based on the provision statistics of edible oil waste, we are able to extract 20% of our HSD requirement from the identical as biodiesel.

4)Our main problem lies in execution and the related failure is pushed by the deadly mixture of two culprits, ie incompetence and poor governance. Its impression on the power sector might be instantly quantified by the ever-soaring power imports.

Although PSEs are a residing instance, with few exceptions, the illness seems fairly rampant within the personal sector too.

In all probability as a result of all-encompassing stranglehold of feudalism and related ethos, sycophancy, cronyism, mediocrity, subservience and conformance, in numerous shades, largely seem like holding sway on this sector too.

Such cultures might often produce activity masters, however they principally fail to provide leaders imbibed with the required entrepreneurial spirit and capability. If this nation has to progress, then, this anomaly must be addressed on precedence and, in fact, in a holistic method.

Thus, it’s evident that the topic possibility, which can take one other few many years even for the developed world to imagine the form of a sustainable worth chain, is certainly not an possibility for us.

The author is a petroleum engineer and an oil and gasoline administration skilled



Revealed in The Specific Tribune, Could 8th, 2023.

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