India Unveils Draft R&D Roadmap for Green Hydrogen Ecosystem, Focusing on Fuel Cell Development

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The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in India has released a draft roadmap for the development of the green hydrogen ecosystem in the country. The roadmap primarily focuses on advancing fuel cell technologies for long-range travel, particularly in the road transport sector. It highlights the importance of combining hydrogen fuel cells, advanced batteries, and supercapacitors as key technologies in the future of the automobile industry.


While hydrogen technologies are still in the development phase, the draft report acknowledges that mature technologies like fuel cells are currently not cost-competitive with alternative options. The report also states that other upcoming technologies that promise lower costs are yet to demonstrate long-term performance.

The main objective is to design affordable, efficient, safe, and reliable pathways for the adoption of green hydrogen technologies. There is considerable room for improvement in each of these aspects, and as a result, major economies and corporations are heavily investing in research and development (R&D) efforts.

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India’s heavy dependence on crude oil imports, with the transport sector being a significant contributor, is a driving factor behind the push for alternative energy systems. The report highlights the expectation of a 70% increase in the country’s primary energy consumption over the next decade, further widening the gap between domestic crude oil production and consumption.

While electric vehicles (EVs) have gained prominence as an alternative, particularly battery-powered EVs, certain applications, such as long-distance travel, require the use of fuel cells. Given India’s limited lithium resources and the bulkiness of lithium-ion batteries, ongoing work is focused on developing alternative battery technologies.

The proposed R&D roadmap includes “Blue Sky Projects” with a long-term horizon of 0-15 years, aiming to establish global intellectual property and competitive advantages for the Indian industry. The roadmap outlines various areas of focus, including the development of reversible Solid Oxide Electrolysers (SOECs) and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs).

Efforts will also be directed towards enhancing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of fuel cells, vendor development for critical components, and creating a supportive policy framework. The ultimate goal is to achieve wider deployment of fuel cells across various applications through improved efficiency, reduced capital expenditure, and cost reductions.

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Overall, the draft roadmap outlines a strategic approach to advancing the green hydrogen ecosystem in India and reducing the country’s reliance on imported crude oil through the development and adoption of alternative energy systems, with a particular emphasis on fuel cell technologies.

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