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Developing hydrogen energy: India's new energy venture

The energy transition in India is progressing at an unprecedented pace and scale, necessitating new low-carbon technologies. There is a need to tap alternative energy sources that are greener, renewable, and abundant in supply. Hydrogen is one such source.  

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As demand for energy rises globally, there is a need to tap alternative energy sources that are greener, renewable, and abundant in supply. Hydrogen is one such source. India's advantage due to its geographical location, climate conditions, and abundance of solar, wind, and hydro energy can make it a global hydrogen hub by 2050.

Hydrogen at the forefront:

Green Hydrogen is one of the cleanest fuels for both transport and power generation. The cost reduction in hydrogen production, storage, transmission, distribution, and application has become an important area of global shift for regulators, investors, and consumers. Today, hydrogen is considered a zero-carbon solution for several applications including long trucking, shipping, and steel industry.

Hydrogen production is energy-intensive, and there is a need to exploit non-greenhouse gas producing sources like wind & solar to generate electricity for the purpose. While decreasing the burden on fossils fuels, large-scale use of hydrogen energy - a 100 percent clean fuel - will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Investments in R&D, technology upgradation, and capacity building are the key to a cleaner future.

India has emerged as a global leader in climate change. As the world's third-biggest emitter, it is now making noticeable efforts to reduce global warming and stays committed to significantly reducing its carbon footprint in the future.

Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, India

Govt.'s efforts towards strengthening hydrogen economy:

As a climate-conscious nation, India has taken several measures that strengthen its promise to the environment. The launch of the National Hydrogen Energy Mission as announced by the Honourable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi during his 75th Independence Day address to the nation on 15th August 2021, also bolstered the country's commitment towards a clean and green future.

He said that "The thing that is going to help India with a quantum leap in terms of climate is the field of green hydrogen."

We must make India a global hub for green hydrogen production and export. This will not only help India to make new progress in the field of energy self-reliance but will also become a new inspiration for clean energy transition all over the world., Mr. Modi further added.

Mr. RK Singh, Union Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy, MNRE

Mr. RK Singh, Union Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said that "Green hydrogen could play a critical role in meeting India's growing energy needs, decreasing our dependence on energy imports, and healing the environment. Our government's mantra is to electrify the economy and green the electricity. But there are sectors where electrification will not work. Hence, we are dedicated to creating a green hydrogen economy that operates at scale, just like we did for renewables. This will also help to bring down the costs of green hydrogen."

India is on its way to emerge as a leader in green hydrogen and green ammonia. The country proposes to green industry sectors to replace grey hydrogen (drawn from imported natural gas) with green hydrogen and for this, it will come out with a Green Hydrogen Purchase Obligation for different sectors like petroleum and fertilizer. This will also provide huge demand for domestically manufactured solar and wind equipment as well as storage, Mr. Singh further added.

Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon'ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Science

Recently, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon'ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Science launched the National Hydrogen Portal (www.greenhydrogen-India.com). The platform aims to become a one-stop information source for research, production, storage, transportation, and application of hydrogen across the country & Technology.

Speaking at the International Climate Summit 2021, Dr. Jitendra Singh stated "Our undivided energies should be invested to attain our aim of minimizing emission and that is only possible if we adopt a proactive approach. Green hydrogen will not only enable us to reduce emissions but also help India across several verticals and align with PM Modi's vision of our nation being self-reliant. It's about time that we collectively work towards making India a Green Hydrogen Hub, not just for ourselves but for the bigger picture where we are considerate of the world.

We have the capability and the capacity to facilitate clean hydrogen energy for the world; this is the appropriate time to get into action and create a world worth thriving in, Dr. Singh added.

National Hydrogen Portal
Mr. Ashwani Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, MoEFCC

Addressing the gathering at the International Climate Summit 2021, Mr. Ashwani Kumar Choubey, Hon'ble Minister of State for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India expressed "The need of the hour is to cater to the depleting cover and growing concerns urgently, to create a sustainable platform for clean energy. We intend to achieve 40 percent of non-fossil usage by 2030, making a significant stride towards improving the current state of the country and establishing a green hydrogen ecosystem to smoothen the path to responsible living.

It's time to redirect our attention towards creating and sustaining an alternate source of energy and mandating it for developing and developed nations alike to take the onus to nurture the health and wellbeing of each one of us on this planet, Mr. Choubey added.

Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog, the policy think tank of the Government of India is in discussions with the relevant stakeholders to chart out India's approach to Green Hydrogen.

Speaking at one of the conferences, Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog said that green hydrogen has the potential to drastically reduce co2 emissions, reduce energy imports and save precious foreign exchange. It will also help India export high-value green products, making it one of the first major economies to industrialize without the need to carbonize.

"In fact, India can be a major exporter of both green hydrogen and green ammonia. India has the potential to execute the world's largest green hydrogen programme to raise the annual production capacity of 5 million tons of 100 percent Zero Carbon green hydrogen by 2030 all for domestic demand," Mr. Kant stated.

Indian conglomerates riding the hydrogen wave:

Hydrogen is the latest buzz for meeting the world's energy requirements. Being the cleanest form of energy, it can be produced from a range of resources, such as natural gas, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind. It can be used in cars, in houses, for portable power, and in many more applications.

Indian corporations like Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Adani Group, ACME Group, state-owned oil refiner IOCL (Indian Oil Corporation Limited), and electricity producer NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation Limited) have announced striving plans to embrace hydrogen as fuel as the nation shifts towards carbon-free fuel.

  • In March, Adani Group had announced a partnership with Maire Tecnimont to develop green hydrogen projects in India.
  • ACME Group has recently commissioned the world's first integrated commercial-scale pilot plant for green hydrogen production in Rajasthan.
  • IOCL has also announced that it plans to build a green hydrogen plant at its Mathura refinery in Uttar Pradesh.
  • NTPC plans to set up India's first green hydrogen fuelling station in Leh, Ladakh. Also, it looking to set up a test project for blending hydrogen with national gas for use in city gas distribution.
  • Reliance Industries (RIL) and US-based engineering company Chart Industries have formed an energy transition coalition — the India H2 Alliance (IH2A) — to commercialize hydrogen technology and systems to help develop a net-zero carbon pathway in India.
Mr. Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani, CMD, Reliance Industries

Recently, at the International Climate Summit 2021, RIL announced that it aims to create or enable capacity to generate at least 100 GW (gigawatts) of electricity from renewable sources, which can be converted into carbon-free green hydrogen by 2030, said Mukesh Ambani, Chairman while speaking at a summit, as he delineated a 1-1-1 vision to bring down the cost of hydrogen to under $1 per 1 kg in 1 decade.

Mr. Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited, "Green hydrogen is zero-carbon energy. It is the best and cleanest source of energy, which can play a fundamental role in the world's decarbonization plans."

India can pursue a more aggressive policy of $1 per kg hydrogen compared to the global targets for bringing the price of green hydrogen to $2 per kg, Mr. Ambani stated.

Green hydrogen produced with renewable resources costs $3-6.55 a kg.

"Efforts are on globally to make green hydrogen the most affordable fuel option by bringing down its cost to initially under $2 per kg. Let me assure you all that Reliance will aggressively pursue this target and achieve it well before the turn of this decade," Mr. Ambani expressed.

Hydrogen Mobility: Ushering into next phase of sustainable transport

Hydrogen mobility can be a major catalyst for India's clean energy, oil, and gas, automotive, rail, public infrastructure, and advanced materials industries.

India has many reasons to pursue hydrogen mobility. It will permit the creation of large volumes of intellectual property from India, spawn much-needed skilled employment, reduce energy and techno-economic dependency, and help it contribute to global climate action goals.

Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, MoRTH

Recently, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, has stated that the government is looking at green hydrogen as a viable transportation fuel, adding that any benefits granted to electric vehicles may also be extended to green hydrogen.

He also stated that India can lead the world in green hydrogen generation because of its enormous solar, wind, hydro, and waste potential.

NTPC REL signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Union Territory of Ladakh to set up the country's first National Hydrogen Mobility Project in the region.

Indian Railways has launched bids for the development of hydrogen fuel cell-based trains on the Indian Railways network starting with a bid for an 89km Sonipat-Jind section of Northern Railway.

"Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Batteries and National Hydrogen Mission are two flagship programmes of Government of India to meet out the targets of reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emission under Paris Climate Agreement 2015 and 'Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway' by 2030, Indian railways said in a statement.

Accordingly, there has been a recent budgetary pronouncement to kick off the concept of Hydrogen Mobility in the country, Indian railways further added.

Author : Debi Dash
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