Committed to reduce C02 emissions, India gives push to its hydrogen energy goals
India aims to produce 5 MMT green hydrogen per year by 2030, an ambitious target that the country is committed to achieve
In order to address its growing energy requirements while at the same time, making all efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, India is giving a boost to production of renewable energy sources, including green hydrogen.
It aims to set up at least 5 MMT (million metric tonne) per annum of green hydrogen capacity by 2030.
Used as a fuel, green hydrogen is made by splitting water with an electrical process, called electrolysis. The devices that do electrolysis are called electrolysers.
India plans to achieve electrolyser manufacturing capacity of 15 gigawatts in phases by 2030---that would be almost 10 times current global capacity.
The National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap outlines the potential for green hydrogen in transportation, industry, power generation, and building sectors, with fuel cell vehicles alone potentially saving 1 billion liters of diesel and reducing CO2 emissions by nearly 50 MMT per annum by 2030 MMT.
The push towards green energy is crucial now as the Russia-Ukraine crisis has caused energy costs to rise globally, adversely affecting India, which imports 85% of its oil and 53% of its natural gas.
India's vision for green hydrogen
Under its national green hydrogen mission, India aims to become energy independent by 2047 and achieve net zero emissions by 2070.
The national green hydrogen mission approved by the Union Cabinet on January 4, 2023, has a roadmap for enhanced export opportunities for green hydrogen and its derivatives; decarbonization of industrial, mobility and energy sectors; reduction in dependence on imported fossil fuels and feedstock; development of indigenous manufacturing capabilities; creation of employment opportunities; and development of cutting-edge technologies.
India’s green hydrogen production capacity is likely to reach at least 5 MMT per annum, with an associated renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 GW.
India plans to attract $96.65 billion in investment in the green hydrogen sector by 2030. Several Indian companies, including Reliance Industries, Indian Oil, NTPC, Adani Enterprises, JSW Energy, ReNew Power, and Acme Solar have ambitious plans for green hydrogen.
India's rapid shift to clean energy
In India, hydrogen energy demand is expected to increase fourfold by 2050 and the steel industry and heavy-duty transportation will drive 52% of it, a NITI Aayog and the US-based Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) report released last year said. The report titled “Harnessing Green Hydrogen: Opportunities for Deep Decarbonisation in India,” said green hydrogen will achieve cost parity with natural-gas based hydrogen, also called grey hydrogen by 2030.
“From price parity basis alone, green hydrogen’s share of this demand could grow from 16% in 2030 to almost 94% by 2050,” the report said. It added that the cumulative market for green hydrogen in the country is projected to be US$8 billion by 2030 and US$340 billion by 2050. What is however, important to see is that the adoption of hydrogen has a potential to reduce CO2 emissions. “The adoption of green hydrogen could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3.6 gigatonnes between 2030 and 2050,” the report said. According to the International Energy Agency, the world would, by adopting green hydrogen energy, save 830 million tonnes of CO2 that is emitted annually by using fossil fuels.
Importance of green hydrogen
Hydrogen is a 100% sustainable source; it does not emit pollution during its combustion or production process; it is a gas and can be easily stored; it can be easily transformed into electricity or synthetic gas which can then be used for domestic, commercial, and industrial purposes; green hydrogen can be mixed with the natural gas, up to a maximum of 20%. It can also be transported through the same pipes and in the same infrastructure. The most assuring fact with hydrogen is that it is the most abundant element on earth. Besides, it is the only source of energy that emits water vapour and leaves no residue in the air.
India’s plans for green hydrogen
India aims to create a sustainable green hydrogen economy by establishing a supply chain from electrolyzer manufacturing to green hydrogen production using renewable energy while keeping costs competitive. The cost of green hydrogen production and storage is currently high at $5.33 (INR 400) per kg. The government plans to reduce electrolyzer costs and increase renewable power generation to lower costs. Legal and administrative adherence, certification mechanisms, and regulations are also necessary. India opposes the dilution of green hydrogen standards proposed by some developed nations and advocates harmonization of standards to regulate green hydrogen trade. The Indian government is aiming to cut emissions and boost exports.
India's National Hydrogen Energy Mission aims to promote hydrogen energy in various sectors and transition to a low-carbon economy. The use of green hydrogen is considered a solution to climate-related energy problems, but success depends on planned and executed incentives and legislative frameworks. In addition, national and international efforts in finance, investments, policy planning, and research will be necessary to make this plan successful.
***The author is a Surat-based journalist; views expressed are her own