All you need to know about India’s Green Hydrogen plans | Updated: March 30, 2022, 11:39 AM

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All you need to know about India’s Green Hydrogen plans

Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday reached Parliament in a car powered by green hydrogen or green ammonia. He was riding in a ‘Mirai’ manufactured by Toyota which is the first-of-its-kind vehicle run on Hydrogen-based advanced Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV).

Mirai (Japanese word for ‘Future’), manufactured by Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd. along with International Center for Automotive Technology (ICAT), was introduced earlier this month under a project which seeks to study and evaluate the world's most advanced FCEV which runs on hydrogen. The main aim is to shift from fossil fuel to using contemporary resources for the conservation of the environment.

Toyota Mirai can cover a distance of 645 kilometers in single charge, and can refuel within 5 minutes, according to various reports.

All you need to know about India’s Green Hydrogen plans. Toyota Mirai

Naturally, the move by Minister Gadkari raised some questions among the people about not only the viability of the project, but also what are India’s plans to further its motive to shift to alternate fuel to power development of the country. Gadkari said that India’s aims to manufacture green hydrogen domestically.

“To become 'Atmanirbhar', we have introduced green hydrogen which is generated from water. This car is a pilot project. Now, the manufacturing of green hydrogen will begin in the country. Imports will be curbed, and new employment opportunities will be created,” the minister said.

Speaking about the capacity building and infrastructure modernisation, Nitin Gadkari said, “within maximum of two years, the cost of electric scooter, car, auto-rickshaw will be same as petrol-driven scooter, car, auto-rickshaw. Prices of lithium-ion battery are coming down. We are developing this chemistry of zinc-ion, aluminium-ion, (and) sodium-ion batteries. If petrol, you are spending ₹100, then on electric vehicle you will spend ₹10."

He also informed that Government has initiated Rs 3000 crore mission to become a county exporting hydrogen.

Hydrogen as a power source

Green hydrogen is defined as hydrogen produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. Green hydrogen can be produced from renewable energy and abundantly available biomass.

Green hydrogen was talked-about as an alternative fuel choice in a number of emissions reduction pledges at the UN Climate Conference, COP26, as a means to decarbonise various industries. Not just transportation sector, but also various other sectors like freight, shipping, and aviation can use green hydrogen as a fuel.

Hydrogen is emerging as an important source of energy since it has zero carbon content and is a non-polluting source of energy, whereas hydrocarbons have a net carbon content in the range of 75 to 85 percent.

Hydrogen energy is expected to reduce carbon emissions that are set to jump by 1.5 billion tons in 2021. It is the most abundantly available element on earth, but commercially viable Hydrogen can be produced from hydrocarbons including natural gas, oil, and coal through processes like steam methane reforming, partial oxidation, and coal gasification; as well as from renewables like water, sunlight, and wind through electrolysis and photolysis and other thermo-chemical processes.

India’s Green Hydrogen plans

Last year, in the budget speech for FY22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had talked about launching a ‘Hydrogen Energy Mission’ , and earmarked an additional capital of Rs 1500 crore to Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) for the financial year 2021-22.

Later in the year, in August 2021, PM Narendra Modi launched the National Hydrogen Mission with an aim to make India an export hub Green Hydrogen & Green Ammonia, and to meet the country’s climate change requirements.

Under the mission, the government has set a target of producing 5 million tonnes of Green Hydrogen by 2030.

The implementation of this policy seeks to provide clean fuel to the common people of the country which will, resultantly, reduce dependence on fossil fuel, and reduce crude oil imports.

Some points in the policy:

  1. Manufacturers of Green Hydrogen may purchase renewable power from the power exchange or set up renewable energy capacity themselves anywhere.
  2. The Green Hydrogen manufacturers can bank their unconsumed renewable power, up to 30 days, with a Distribution Company, and take it back when required.
  3. Distribution licensees can also procure and supply Renewable Energy to the manufacturers of Green Hydrogen in their states at concessional prices which will only include the cost of procurement, wheeling charges, and a small margin as determined by the State Commission.
  4. Waiver of inter-state transmission charges for a period of 25 years will be allowed to the manufacturers of Green Hydrogen for the projects commissioned before 30th June 2025.
  5. The manufacturers and the renewable energy plant shall be given connectivity to the grid on priority basis to avoid any procedural delays.
  6. The benefit of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) will be granted incentive to the hydrogen manufacturer, and the distribution licensee for consumption of renewable power.
  7. To ensure ease of doing business a single portal for carrying out all the activities, including statutory clearances in a time bound manner will be set up by MNRE.
  8. Manufacturers of Green Hydrogen shall be allowed to set up bunkers near ports for storage and export of Green Ammonia by shipping. The land for the storage for this purpose shall be provided by the respective Port Authorities at applicable charges.

What is the private sector doing?

The shift from fossil fuels to hydrogen needs major participation from private players as well. To facilitate this positive shift, recently six companies, working in the domain of renewable energy generation, have come together to form an independent advocacy group called Independent Green Hydrogen Association (IGHPA) to give an impetus to the Hydrogen Sector in India.

IGHPA, formed by companies, namely Azure Power, Acme Group, Fortum India, O2 Power, Sprng Energy and SunEdison Infrastructure, aims to engage with the Government and other key stakeholders to turn India into an export hub of green hydrogen and green ammonia.

The association will also work towards creating awareness among the masses about the usage of Green Hydrogen.

Former Secretary in the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shashi Shekhar has been appointed as the Director General (DG) of the organisation. IGHPA is mandated to give technical, regulator, and economic inputs to help evolution of policy framework and its subsequent implementation.

Moreover, companies like IOC, NTPC, BPCL, L&T, Jindal Steel, Reliance Industries and the Adani Group have announced their respective plans for hydrogen production in India. By some estimates, over $25 billion stands to be invested in the generation of green energy.