Green Hydrogen: The Next Clean Energy For India


For decades, hydrogen has been touted as the fuel of the future, with promises of massive benefits in about five years. Green hydrogen differs from grey hydrogen, which is made from methane and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and blue hydrogen, which absorbs those pollutants and stores them underground to avoid climate change.


India Outlook And Recent Announcements


According to comments made by those in positions of authority, green hydrogen may play a significant role in India’s future. The Prime Minister of the state proposes the launch of a ‘Comprehensive National Hydrogen Mission’ in 2021-2022 for the generation of hydrogen for green power sources. According to a recent study from The Energy and Resources Institute, nearly 80% of India’s hydrogen will be “green” by 2050, meaning it will be generated using renewable electricity and electrolysis. By 2030, the cost of hydrogen produced from renewables will have dropped by more than half, enabling it to compete with hydrogen that is produced from fossil fuels. Taking a step back and looking at the larger picture, India’s government is striving for 450 gigawatts of renewable energy resources by 2030. 


In February, India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas announced that Indian Oil and Greenstat Hydrogen India, a subsidiary of Norwegian energy company Greenstat, had signed a letter of intent to create a Center of Excellence on Hydrogen. This Center will serve as a platform for the promotion of R&D projects in both, Green and Blue Hydrogen between Norwegian and Indian R&D institutions and/ or universities.

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Green hydrogen is being considered as a preferred fuel source for both transportation and storage applications due to its lack of emissions and three times higher energy content per unit mass than gasoline. Given India’s rapid expansion of clean energy ability at low tariffs, this is important. Apart from reducing India’s reliance on fossil fuels, these green hydrogen plants would assist in the provision of grid-scale storage solutions, as well as the resolution of electricity transmission and evacuation issues for renewable energy projects. India should take hydrogen seriously and develop a Green Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap as soon as possible. Given India’s rapid expansion of clean energy ability at low tariffs, this is important. More than a quarter of India’s installed power generation capacity is now made up of clean energy projects. India currently has 34.6 GW of solar power and 38 GW of wind power, with a target of producing 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind power by March 2022.

Manufacturing And Applications 

In the five months leading up to April 2020, the pipeline of green hydrogen electrolyzer projects nearly tripled, reaching 8.2 gigawatts. The rise was mostly due to an increase in large-scale electrolyzer installations, with 17 projects slated to have a capacity of 100 megawatts or more. And it is not just that there are more projects being built. Electrolyser systems would most likely reach 600 megawatts in size by 2027. The world’s largest electrolyser units currently in use range from 10 to 20 MW. As a result, the new capacity is ready to operate on large-scale projects around the world, with a plan to scale to multi-gigawatt production capacity in line with consumer demand as the market grows. 

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In this context, there is an increasing interest in and hype surrounding the use of hydrogen in a variety of applications, including oil refining, ammonia and steel processing, transportation (fuel cells), and so on. The application for power storage, however, is perhaps the most intriguing for India. As India moves toward developing large and relatively inexpensive renewable energy capacity, which is inherently intermittent, large power storage solutions are needed to address peaking demand and reduce reliance on fossil fuel-based power generation.

World Leaders 

Green hydrogen could meet up to 25% of the energy needs of the world by the end of 2050 and become a $10 trillion recognisable market. Australia, Chile, Germany, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, and South Korea are among the countries that have recently released national hydrogen strategies. Hydrogen has gained traction since Covid-19, and it is now a top priority in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Spain, and the United States’ green recovery or renewable energy plans. A Hydrogen Strategy for a Climate-Neutral Europe was recently released by the European Union. A Hydrogen Roadmap was also accepted in Spain, and one is planned in Canada soon. Germany has set a goal of 5 gigawatts of electrolysers by 2030, with another 5 gigawatts by 2040.  

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The hydrogen economy will be a key component of the energy infrastructure of the future. By the end of the decade, hydrogen would have entirely replaced natural gas. Since electricity is the most expensive component in production, the cost of renewable-powered hydrogen production through electrolysis will drop exponentially in the coming years. It is past time for India to rise to the occasion and seize today’s opportunities through the Hydrogen project in order to ensure a safe and prosperous future.

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