India’s Quest for Green Hydrogen.

India’s northern plains are home to the most polluted cities on the planet, with 13 of them making it to the top 15 most polluted cities in the world. India’s vehicular pollution added more than 300 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere and it is only going to increase if the country doesn’t take drastic steps towards green sources of energy like green hydrogen . The steel industry heavily relies on fossil fuel for heating iron making furnaces 50% of the heating furnaces in Indian coal industry is coal, it resulted in more than 240 tons of carbon dioxide in the last year which is 12% of India’s carbon emission. There is an industry wide consensus that the use of green hydrogen can drastically improve the efficiency and the state of carbon emissions of the steel industry.

On 15th August 2021, 75th Indian independence day, the prime minister launched the National Hydrogen Mission, aimed at making India self-sufficient in Green Hydrogen to better align the country with sustainable climate goals.The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is supporting research and development of programmes that address the challenges in production and use of  Hydrogen fuel and energy, its economic viability, storage and safety. A hydrogen internal combustion engine has also been demonstrated and two hydrogen refueling stations have also been set up, one at Oil R&D facility in Faridabad and another at National Institute of Solar Energy, Gurugram. MNRE is also making it mandatory for petroleum refining companies and fertilizer manufacturing companies to use hydrogen from 2023-24 to 2030.

Hydrogen is classified into four categories based on the  methods of generation— Brown,Grey,Blue and Green. Brown hydrogen is obtained by gasification of coal, It is very high in carbon content; Grey and Blue hydrogen are obtained by steam methane reformation, these two classes are also carbon intense; Green hydrogen is manufactured by electrolysis of water, a less popular method is through biomass. When current is passed through water it breaks down into its constituents,hydrogen and oxygen, hydrogen then is captured. If the electricity used for electrolysis is from a renewable source, the resultant hydrogen is totally carbon free.

According to TERI(The Energy and Research Institute), the demand for hydrogen stands currently at 6 million tonnes per year in 2020, the demand is expected to grow five fold by 2050 and the price of hydrogen is expected to come down by 50% by the year 2030. Multiple companies are jumping in to capitalize on the opportunity of producing greenhydrogen in India along with major private firms, PSUs like Gas Authority of India Limited(GAIL), National Thermal Power Corp. (NTPC) and Indian Oil Corporation(IOCL). The biggest business conglomerate in India, Reliance Industries has revealed its plans to invest 600 billion rupees in building a 5000 acre green farm in jamnagar Gujarat, for the production of green hydrogen, the company which was primarily involved in oil and gas business before making a foray into telecom sector and absolutely  disrupting the competition, aims to go carbon neutral by 2035.

GAIL on the other hand is on the way to establishing the biggest hydrogen plant in India, the company is currently looking for land to build a 10 megawatt plant on. NTPC similarly has finalized the Rann of Kutch as the location for its 5 megawatt plant; it is also going to launch 5 hydrogen fueled buses in Leh, Ladakh. IOCL is setting up a hydrogen plant in Mathura refinery, aiming at the production of green hydrogen with 160,000 barrels per day, the state owned oil miner is set to turn 10% of  it’s hydrogen consumption in refineries into green hydrogen. 

Indian multinational conglomerate Larsen and Toubro is investing Rs. 10-15 billion for switching to renewable energy sources which also includes setting up hydrogen manufacturing plants.

Written By:

Vivek Anand

Vivek is a writer who writes to explore. His interests include philosopy, psychology, poetry, cinema, mythology and international relations. Above all he’s interested in making sense of complex systems-how they work and influence each other. An alumnus of Calcutta University, he has a bachelor's degree in Physics.

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