HYDROGEN is found in great quantities on earth and is expected to be a fuel of the future for vehicles and households. Although hydrogen is present in the earth’s atmosphere only in tiny amounts as a gas, it is abundantly available as water.
Hydrogen can be produced by electrolysis, a process of using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. If hydrogen is produced by renewable sources of solar and wind, it is called green hydrogen. Pakistan has abundant solar and wind sources. The country has a capacity of 150,000 megawatts of wind-power alone.
Besides, the cost of electricity produced by wind and solar is decreasing rapidly. In Pakistan, it is now two US cents (Rs 3.5) per kilowatt hour (kWh).
At this cost of renewable energy, Pakistan can produce green hydrogen at less than $2 per kilogram, which is cheaper than both petrol and diesel.
While petrol cars cost more than Rs12 per kilometre, hydrogen cars are estimated to cost three times less than that price, or Rs4 per kilometre.
Pakistan imports $17 billion of oil every year, which can be saved to a great extent if we go for hydrogen as fuel and also switch to fully electric vehicles. In fact, the country can earn billions of dollars by exporting green hydrogen to developed economies like Japan, China, Singapore and Europe.
Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2022