Daily Current Affairs – 2020Topic: For Prelims and Mains
The Government of India has planned to include hydrogen energy development under its renewable energy Future Plans.
Hydrogen is a clean fuel. It is an energy carrier that can be used for a broad range of applications. Also it could serve as a possible substitute to liquid and fossil fuels.
Its physical properties could be stated as following. At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a nontoxic, nonmetallic, odorless, tasteless, colorless, and highly combustible diatomic gas with the molecular formula H2.
Speaking of its natural occurrence, it is the most abundant element in the universe. The sun and other stars are composed largely of hydrogen. Astronomers estimate that 90% of the atoms in the universe are hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen is a component of more compounds than any other element. Water is the most abundant compound of hydrogen found on earth.
Molecular hydrogen is not available on Earth in convenient natural reservoirs. Most hydrogen on Earth is bonded to oxygen in water and to carbon in live or dead and/or fossilized biomass. It can be created by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. Water is again formed, when hydrogen is used.
On the other hand, its preparation could be done by breaking the chemical bonds from compounds.
A few common methods include electrolysis, from steam and hydro carbon or carbon, reaction of metals with acids, ionic metal hydrides with water, etc.
Currently, global hydrogen production is 48% from natural gas, 30% from oil, and 18% from coal; water electrolysis accounts for only 4%.
Its storage is important because it has wide range of applications. They range from stationary power, portable power to transportation, etc. Also it has the highest energy per mass of any fuel.
However, its low ambient temperature density results in a low energy per unit volume, therefore requiring the development of advanced storage methods that have potential for higher energy density.
Hydrogen can be stored physically as either a gas or a liquid. Storage of hydrogen as a gas typically requires high-pressure tanks (350–700 bar [5,000–10,000 psi] tank pressure).
Storage of hydrogen as a liquid requires cryogenic temperatures because the boiling point of hydrogen at one atmosphere pressure is −252.8°C. Hydrogen can also be stored on the surfaces of solids (by adsorption) or within solids (by absorption).
Hydrogen is considered an alternative fuel. It is due to its ability to power fuel cells in zero-emission electric vehicles, its potential for domestic production, and the fuel cell’s potential for high efficiency. In fact, a fuel cell coupled with an electric motor is two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine running on gasoline. Hydrogen can also serve as fuel for internal combustion engines. The energy in 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of hydrogen gas contains about the same as the energy in 1 gallon (6.2 pounds, 2.8 kilograms) of gasoline.
It is readily available. It is a basic earth element and is very abundant. However, it time consuming to separate hydrogen gas from its companion substances. While that may be the case, the results produce a powerful clean energy source.
It doesn’t produce harmful emissions. When it is burned, it doesn’t emit harmful substances. Basically, it reacts with oxygen without burning and the energy it releases can be used to generate electricity used to drive an electric motor. Also, it doesn’t generate carbon dioxide when burnt, not unlike other power sources.
It is environmentally friendly. It is a non-toxic substance which is rare for a fuel source. Others such as nuclear energy, coal and gasoline are either toxic or found in places that have hazardous environments. Because hydrogen is friendly towards the environment, it can be used in ways that other fuels can’t even possibly match.
It can be used as fuel in rockets. It is both powerful and efficient. It is enough to provide power for powerful machines such as spaceships. Also, given that it is environmentally friendly, it is a much safer choice compared to other fuel sources. A fun fact: hydrogen is three times as powerful as gasoline and other fossil fuels. This means that it can accomplish more with less.
It is fuel efficient. Compared to diesel or gas, it is much more fuel efficient as it can produce more energy per pound of fuel. This means that if a car is fueled by hydrogen, it can go farther than a vehicle loaded with the same amount of fuel but using a more traditional source of energy.
Hydrogen-powered fuel cells have two or three times the efficiency of traditional combustion technologies. For example, a conventional combustion-based power plant usually generates electricity between 33 to 35 percent efficiency. Hydrogen fuel cells are capable of generating electricity of up to 65 percent efficiency.
It is renewable. It can be produced again and again, unlike other non-renewable sources of energy. This means that with hydrogen, you get a fuel source that is limited. Basically, hydrogen energy can be produced on demand.
Topic: For Prelims and Mains
Recently, the recent versions of three labour codes namely Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020, Code on Social Security Bill, 2020 and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020 have been introduced in Lok Sabha.
Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020:
It has raised the threshold for the requirement of a standing order to over 300 workers which implies that industrial establishments with up to 300 workers will not be required to furnish a standing order.
It proposes a National Social Security Board which shall recommend to the central government for formulating suitable schemes for different sections of unorganised workers, gig workers and platform workers.
Also, aggregators employing gig workers will have to contribute 1-2% of their annual turnover for social security, with the total contribution not exceeding 5% of the amount payable by the aggregator to gig and platform workers.
Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020:
It has defined inter-state migrant workers as the worker who has come on their own from one state and obtained employment in another state, earning up to Rs. 18,000 a month.
The proposed definition makes a distinction from the
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to set up a “national commission to promote patriotic education” in the US.