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A research team from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, has found a way to extract green hydrogen from biomass, a renewable energy source.

India uses nearly 5 million tons of hydrogen for various processes in different sectors, and the hydrogen market is expected to grow substantially in the coming years. But most of the hydrogen used comes from fossil fuels and is extracted through a steam methane reforming route.

The IISc team was led by S Dasappa, Professor at the Centre for Sustainable Technologies and Chair of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Energy Research.

In the first step, biomass is converted into syngas – a hydrogen-rich fuel gas mixture – in a novel reactor using oxygen and steam. In the second step, pure hydrogen is generated from syngas using an indigenously developed low-pressure gas separation unit.


The highly efficient process, which is also carbon-negative, produces 100 g of hydrogen from 1 kg of biomass even though only 60 g of hydrogen is present in 1 kg of biomass. In this process, steam, which also contains hydrogen, participates in both homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions.

“This indigenous technology is a step towards achieving the goal of Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Bharat and the National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap, an initiative of the Government of India that aims to promote the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel. The same platform can be used for methanol and ethanol production too,” said Dasappa.

The by-products generated from this process — solid carbon serves as a carbon sink, and carbon dioxide is used in other value-added products. Green hydrogen could also be used in the steel industry to decarbonize steel, in agriculture to manufacture green fertilizers, and in many sectors currently using hydrogen produced from fossil fuels.

In line with the National Hydrogen Mission launched last year, the Ministry of Power announced a ‘Green Hydrogen Policy’ to help India meet the production target of 5 million tons of green hydrogen by 2030 and the related development of renewable energy capacity.

In April, India’s only, pure green hydrogen pilot plant that generates green hydrogen from a solar plant was installed in Assam with a production capacity of 10 kg per day.