Gearing up Green Hydrogen for a Greener Drive

With ambitious plans of producing 5 million metric tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030, India aims to reduce 50 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions besides saving around USD 12 billion on fossil fuel imports.

July 17, 2023. By Anurima Mondal

In a bid to achieve net zero by 2070, India is increasing renewable energy use across all economic spheres. Blessed with abundant sunshine and a long coastline of around 7500 km, the country has vast solar as well as wind energy potential. While India’s energy transition story seems promising with various incentives and schemes launched by the government, green hydrogen can play a significant role in catalyzing its progress. 
India hopes to become a global green hydrogen production hub. With its ambitious plans of producing 5 million metric tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030, the country aims to reduce 50 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions besides saving around USD 12 billion on fossil fuel imports.
MNRE organised International Conference on Green Hydrogen (ICGH) 2023 from July 5-7 during which Power Minister RK Singh announced that India has begun to emerge as a leader in adopting green hydrogen. “We are able to do this because we have built up a huge robust ecosystem for renewables, we have now industries which are world leaders in solar and wind energy ecosystems. We have almost 25,000 MW of solar manufacturing capacity and another 40 GW – 50 GW under construction. We are going to emerge as the largest manufacturer of solar cells and modules outside of China,” the minister said while addressing the gathering at the event.
Being a versatile element, green hydrogen can be utilised for various purposes such as long-duration storage of renewable power, sustainable transportation, and replacement of fossil fuels in various industries. 
Talking about the initiatives taken by the PSUs for the promotion of green hydrogen, Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Rameswar Teli said, “The oil and gas PSUs are working towards achieving an annual production capacity of 230 kilo tonnes by the year 2024-25. In addition, these PSUs have set a production target of 7 lakh tonnes of green hydrogen per annum by the year 2030. Oil India Ltd. has started a pilot plant in Jorhat, Assam which produces 10 kg of green hydrogen per day.” 
Meanwhile, Dr. SSV Ramakumar, Director (R&D) of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. announced IOCL's plan to launch 15 fuel cell-driven buses in Delhi with routes connecting Faridabad-Delhi and Delhi-Agra.
Apart from this, various renowned companies such as Reliance Industries, Indian Oil, NTPC, JSW Energy, ReNew Power, Acme Solar, and Adani Enterprises have announced their plans to install a cumulative annual green hydrogen manufacturing capacity of around 3.5 million metric tonnes.
National Green Hydrogen Mission 
The year began on a promising note for the green hydrogen sector. On January 4, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the National Green Hydrogen Mission with an outlay of INR 19,744 crore, including an outlay of INR 17,490 crore for the strategic interventions for the green hydrogen transition (SIGHT) programme, INR 1,466 crore for pilot projects, INR 400 crore for R&D, and INR 388 crore towards other Mission components.  
The Mission is expected to result in the development of a green hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 million metric tonnes per annum with an associated renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 GW in the country, over eight lakh crore in total investments, creation of over six lakh jobs, the cumulative reduction in fossil fuel imports over INR one lakh crore and abatement of nearly 50 MMT of annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
As per the scheme guidelines recently formulated by MNRE for the implementation of strategic interventions for the green hydrogen transition (SIGHT) programme, the framework document comprises two components of the incentive programme. Component I aims at providing electrolyzer manufacturing incentives with a total outlay of INR 4440 crore and Component II focuses on green hydrogen production with a financial outlay of INR 13050 crore. The capacity allocation for Tranche I is 450,000 MT per annum of green hydrogen.
The government has kicked off auctions with Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) inviting bids from interested firms with an aim to establish 4.5 lakh tonnes of green hydrogen production under the SIGHT scheme. The total capacity of 4.5 lakh tonne per annum allocated under this tender includes 4.1 lakh tonne under technology agnostic pathways and 40,000 tonne under biomass-based pathways.
Ray of Hope amid Challenges
While hydrogen is considered a fuel of the future, producing green hydrogen in India currently costs more than hydrogen produced from fossil fuels. Highlighting this issue, G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant emphasised the need to drive down the cost of green hydrogen from USD 4.5/kg to USD 1/kg by 2030 in the valedictory session of ICGH 2023.
The other challenge is that renewable energy is not available all the time and battery storage is still not economical in India. Besides, the country faces competition from subsidised markets such as the United States and China.
India aims to develop innovative solutions to address these challenges. An advisory committee set up under National Green Hydrogen Mission has prepared a draft report on the R&D required to support a green hydrogen ecosystem in India.
In the coming times, rapid technological advancements along with policy push are expected to reduce renewable energy costs making conditions favorable for green hydrogen production.

- Energetica India Magazine
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