How Green Hydrogen Can Transform India’s Energy Sector

How Green Hydrogen Can Transform India’s Energy Sector

Future Of Green Hydrogen In India

Global awareness of the need for coordinated action to limit the negative effects of global warming has grown in recent years. To contribute to this cause, most large economies, including India, have committed to net zero carbon emission targets. As the world’s third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2).

India has undertaken numerous initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and achieve net zero emissions by 2070. For this reason, the government is prioritizing the use of green hydrogen, particularly to decarbonize sectors such as ammonia, refineries, iron and steel, methanol, and heavy-duty trucking.

India currently consumes 6 million tonnes of grey hydrogen (hydrogen produced with natural gas, using low-carbon technologies). 

However, if India were to produce the same amount of green hydrogen, it would require anywhere between 132 and 192 million tonnes of water for the 6 million tonnes of green hydrogen, according to an OMI report. 

This amount is roughly 10% of Delhi’s annual water requirement. 

The water requirement would rise further if the government pursued its claim that India has the capacity to produce 10 million metric tons of green hydrogen annually.

What is “green hydrogen”?

Green hydrogen is created through water electrolysis using renewable energy sources, resulting in low or no carbon emissions. 

Green hydrogen is expected to play a significant role in the decarbonization of heavy industries such as oil refineries, steel mills, and fertilizer plants. 

At the moment, the annual global demand for hydrogen is 70 million metric tonnes, with 76% coming from natural gas, 23% from coal, and the rest from water electrolysis. 

The goal is to increase hydrogen production via electrolysis while decreasing production via the other two methods. 

Green hydrogen and natural gas-derived hydrogen can achieve cost parity by 2030, if not sooner.

Initiatives from the Government

In recent years, India has emerged as a global leader in combating climate change, and its adoption of green hydrogen is expected to spearhead this movement. Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi announced the National Hydrogen Mission during India’s 75th Independence Day celebrations in August 2021, the country’s first major step towards green hydrogen adoption. He outlined a 25-year roadmap for hydrogen development in the country and stated his intention to turn India into a global hub for green hydrogen production and export.

The government recognizes that hydrogen production requires a significant amount of energy and that producing green hydrogen from renewable sources is critical to ensuring the country’s long-term energy security. Furthermore, increasing hydrogen production stimulates the development of renewable energy capacity. This will help to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and the need for crude oil imports. By 2030, the government hopes to produce five million tonnes of green hydrogen. It has taken several steps to achieve this goal, including:

1. Manufacturers can either purchase renewable energy from third parties or build their own renewable capacity.

2. A green hydrogen manufacturer can store any excess renewable energy with the distribution company for up to 30 days and then retrieve it as needed.

3. To avoid delays in the process, green hydrogen producers and the renewable energy plant will be given priority access to the grid.

4. To ensure ease of doing business, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy would establish a single platform for the timely completion of all tasks (including statutory approvals).

Prospects for the Future

India has a significant advantage in the production of green hydrogen due to its advantageous geographic location and abundance of natural resources. India also benefits from cheap renewable energy and rapidly falling electrolyzer prices. Green hydrogen production in India can be made more cost-effective by increasing capacity for renewable energy generation, storage, and transmission. This will gradually increase India’s self-sufficiency while providing energy security.

Carbon emissions are expected to rise by 1.5 billion tonnes in 2021; using green hydrogen will help to mitigate these increases. 

Using green hydrogen, India can reduce CO2 emissions by 3.6 gigatonnes between now and 2050. 

The country could use this as a key tool to advance its recently announced climate ambitions and achieve its net zero carbon target by 2070.

If India’s hydrogen adoption plan proceeds as planned, it is estimated that US$ 1 billion will be invested in hydrogen research and development, allowing for game-changing innovations for the entire world. Green hydrogen can significantly help India combat climate change if innovators, entrepreneurs, and the government work together to make it happen. It can also help India export high-value green products, making it one of the world’s first major economies to industrialize without “carbonizing.”