India, one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, has set a deadline of 2035 to establish green hydrogen bunkering and refuelling facilities at major ports in a bid to cut its carbon footprint.
The initiative is part of India’s broader efforts to reduce emissions to net zero by 2070, as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech at the Climate Ambition Summit in December 2020.
The shipping ministry of India issued guidelines on Wednesday, stating that three of India’s major ports, Paradip in the east, Kandla in the west, and Tuticorin in the south, will initially have bunker facilities for green hydrogen and ammonia. The target is to cover all 12 major ports with a green hydrogen bunkering facility by 2035. More than 200 ports dot India’s coastline, together accounting for 95% of its trade by volume and 65% by value.
The guidelines further state that financing required to turn these ports into green ports is under consideration. To achieve this goal, the Indian government has been pursuing several initiatives, such as setting up a National Hydrogen Energy Mission and launching a Hydrogen Task Force in 2021.
Electricity to power at least 50% of the vehicle and equipment needs of major ports is required by 2030, rather than diesel, and that figure is expected to rise to 90% by 2047. The new shipping guidelines mandate that ports satisfy at least 60% of their electricity needs through renewables by 2030 and 90% by 2047. All ports must achieve a reduction of more than 20% in energy consumption on each tonne of cargo by 2030 versus 2023.
Moreover, the shipping ministry has laid out plans to boost the use of gas, stating that at least one liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering station is to be set up at each port by 2030. Furthermore, the ministry aims to establish electric vehicle charging stations in and around port areas by 2025.
While this is a commendable move by India, several challenges lie ahead in achieving these goals. The establishment of green hydrogen bunkering facilities will require significant investment in infrastructure, equipment, and technology, which might pose a challenge given the country’s current economic situation. Moreover, the availability of green hydrogen, which is produced by electrolyzing water using renewable electricity, is limited due to the high cost of electrolysis technology and the lack of economies of scale. Therefore, to achieve the ambitious goals, India needs to ramp up its renewable energy capacity and reduce the cost of green hydrogen production.
In conclusion, India’s efforts to establish green hydrogen bunkering and refuelling facilities at major ports by 2035 is a significant step towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. The move is in line with India’s broader ambitions to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070, and the shipping ministry’s guidelines are a positive signal of the government’s commitment towards achieving this goal. However, India must overcome several challenges, such as the cost of green hydrogen production and infrastructure development, to make the initiative a success.