Future and progress in India’s Green Hydrogen initiative: Opinion

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Written by Shalin Sheth, Founder & Managing Director, Advait Infratech Limited

India has positioned itself as a global leader in addressing the challenge of climate change, and its commitment to Green Hydrogen is poised to play a pivotal role in this endeavor.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of the National Hydrogen Mission during India’s 75th Independence Day Celebrations in August 2021, India embarked on a transformative journey to become a global hub for Green Hydrogen production and export.

This article explores the future and progress of India’s Green Hydrogen Initiative, the government’s initiatives, corporate involvement, and the potential for a sustainable future.
Government Initiatives
The Indian government acknowledges that Green Hydrogen production is an energy-intensive process and that utilizing renewable sources is essential for ensuring sustainable energy security. Furthermore, it presents an opportunity to boost renewable energy capacity development, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and minimize the need for crude oil imports.

With the aim of manufacturing five million tonnes of Green Hydrogen by 2030, the government has taken significant steps to achieve this goal. The National Hydrogen Mission, launched as part of the government’s broader climate targets, is a cornerstone of India’s Green Hydrogen strategy. Some key components of this mission include:-

-Renewable Power Procurement: Manufacturers have the option to purchase renewable power from external sources or establish their renewable energy capacity.

-Energy Storage: Producers of Green Hydrogen can store excess renewable energy for up to 30 days, providing flexibility and efficiency.

-Grid Priority Access: To expedite the process, Green Hydrogen producers and renewable energy plants are granted priority access to the grid.

-Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) Incentive: Hydrogen manufacturers receive incentives for meeting their renewable purchase obligations.

-Streamlined Processes: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy aims to create a single platform for expediting tasks, including statutory approvals, to facilitate a conducive business environment.

-Waived Inter-state Transmission Charges: Inter-state transmission charges are waived for a period of 25 years, encouraging the growth of Green Hydrogen infrastructure.

Progress in Green Hydrogen Pilots
In September 2023, in the run-up to the 18th G20 Summit, a conference titled “Green Hydrogen Pilots in India” was conducted in New Delhi. The conference showcased various Green Hydrogen pilots initiated by both public and private sector companies in India.

These pilots represent pioneering steps in Green Hydrogen technology and highlight the progress being made in this field. The R&D roadmap for the National Green Hydrogen Mission is nearing completion and will soon be released.

This roadmap will outline the various research areas necessary for the development of a thriving Green Hydrogen ecosystem. Furthermore, India has notified its Green Hydrogen Standard, which limits carbon dioxide emissions to less than or equal to 2 kg per kg of hydrogen, emphasizing the commitment to environmental sustainability.
Corporate Involvement
Corporate entities in India are actively embracing the Green Hydrogen opportunity. Advait Infratech Limited, for instance, was awarded the nation’s first Green Hydrogen project of its kind for THDC India Limited. In this project, Advait Infratech Limited will set up a 300KW
electrolyzer and a 70 KW fuel cell, generating electricity for continuous 12 hours. This electricity will be used for illumination and residential supply, offering a sustainable energy solution.
Building an Ecosystem
The success of India’s Green Hydrogen initiative hinges on building a policy-driven ecosystem. Key components include setting up electrolysis units and storage tanks near manufacturing hubs, creating cryogenic tanks, and implementing incentives such as the PLI scheme for electrolysers.

The formation of a National Electrolyser Manufacturing Mission, aligned with existing schemes like FAME II, is a recommended strategy. Additionally, a PLI scheme for hydrogen-related domestic manufacturing, similar to those for solar power and electric vehicles, is proposed. Tax and policy incentives, state offtake guarantees, and infrastructure for large consortium hydrogen projects are also crucial components of this ecosystem.
Future Outlook
India possesses several advantages in Green Hydrogen production, including its geographic location, abundant natural resources, low-cost renewable power, and decreasing electrolyser prices. By expanding its renewable power capacity, storage, and transmission infrastructure, India can substantially enhance its energy security and reduce CO2 emissions by 3.6 gigatonnes by 2050.

This aligns with India’s ambitious goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. In conclusion, India’s Green Hydrogen Initiative represents a significant step towards combating climate change and reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.

If the initiative unfolds as planned, it is anticipated to attract investments of $1 billion in hydrogen research and development, fostering innovations that can benefit the global community.

Green Hydrogen not only supports India’s climate goals but also positions the country as a pioneer in industrialization without carbon emissions. Collaboration between innovators, entrepreneurs, and the government is essential for realizing this vision, ensuring a sustainable and greener future for India.

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