Green hydrogen, a clean fuel produced through the electrolysis of water using renewable energy, has gained prominence globally as a crucial element in decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors.
India, with its ambitious plans to build a low-carbon and self-reliant economy, has identified green hydrogen as a key enabler for achieving its goals. Industry experts believe that India can lead the world in producing affordable green hydrogen, provided there is ample support from the government and private sector investments in research and development (R&D) of electrolyzers.
In January 2023, the Indian government launched the Green Hydrogen Mission and allocated ₹197.44 billion (~$2.3 billion) for capacity development. This move signifies India’s commitment to developing a robust green hydrogen ecosystem that can help the country meet its target of reaching net zero by 2070. India aims to achieve 50% of its energy mix from renewable sources by 2030, and green hydrogen can play a critical role in achieving this target.
At the ‘Mercom India Renewables Summit 2023’ held on April 26-27 in New Delhi, industry experts discussed the challenges that India needs to overcome to emerge as a significant hub for producing green hydrogen. The panel included Dipesh Pherwani, a Scientist at MNRE; Chintan Shah, a Renewable Energy Expert; Shaji John, Head of Sales & B.D., South Asia, Middle East & Africa from Ohmium; and Kapil Maheshwari, E.D. and CEO of Welspun New Energy.
According to Pherwani, supportive policies for the manufacturing of green hydrogen and investment in R&D are crucial for India to become a global hub for electrolyzer manufacturing. He also suggested the implementation of a production-linked incentive (PLI) for the manufacturing of electrolyzers and the waiver of interstate transmission system (ISTS) charges for green hydrogen projects until 2030.
Shah highlighted the challenges in funding mid-size electrolyzer manufacturing companies due to cost benchmarks and keeping pace with technological advancements. He stressed the need to unlock the domestic demand for hydrogen and ammonia as commodities and prepare for global demand.
John acknowledged that the green hydrogen opportunities are immense for India but emphasized the need to address challenges such as shortage of skilled manpower, supply chain issues, and transporting green hydrogen. He suggested converting green hydrogen to ammonia as a viable option for accommodating it in the industry.
Choubey pointed out that non-alignment of Central and state-level policies posed a challenge to the industry. Standardization and transmission of green hydrogen also remain a challenge.
Maheshwari drew a parallel between the nascent stage of green hydrogen and the status of the solar sector ten years ago. He acknowledged that there are issues, such as delivery timelines and lack of availability of high-pressure compressors. However, he listed lower production costs in India, adequate land and maritime facilities, and the ability to implement large-scale projects as tailwinds for the development of a green hydrogen ecosystem in India