In a significant move towards fostering a sustainable energy future, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in India is actively exploring the production of green hydrogen from unconventional sources such as seawater and municipal wastewater.
This exploration aims to mitigate risks for lenders and financiers while providing funding for green hydrogen projects. With a focus on decentralized production, water sources near production facilities are being examined as potential contributors to India’s green hydrogen technology.
Bhupinder Singh Bhalla, Secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, emphasized that the water requirements for the Green Hydrogen Mission are not as significant as initially perceived. He highlighted India’s existing thermal power capacity of over 2 lakh MW, stating that the entire green hydrogen target would consume a similar amount of water to a 5,000 to 8,000 MW thermal plant. The intent is to ensure minimal strain on water resources while promoting sustainable hydrogen production.
India’s heavy reliance on energy imports, accounting for 40% of its energy needs valued at $90 billion annually, necessitates a shift towards green hydrogen. Bhalla emphasized the potential of green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in various sectors, including mobility, shipping, and aviation. The adoption of green hydrogen technologies aligns with the country’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and enhancing energy security.
The Secretary revealed that the government plans to release bids under the Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) scheme in the near future. These initiatives will accelerate the growth of the green hydrogen sector in India and position the country as a potential exporter of green hydrogen. Bhalla highlighted the European Union’s target of importing 10 million metric tonnes (MMT) of hydrogen by 2030 and the International Energy Agency’s projection of a global hydrogen demand of 210 million tonnes by the same year, with half of the demand met through green sources.
To ensure transparency and stakeholder engagement, the draft research and development (R&D) roadmap for green hydrogen will be made available for public consultation. Input from stakeholders will be considered before finalizing the roadmap. While the government remains open to both internal combustion (IC) engines and fuel cells for long-haul mobility, Bhalla emphasized the importance of technology adoption by companies and operators. The cost-effectiveness and competitiveness of technologies, such as fuel cells, will be critical factors in determining their widespread implementation.
As India progresses towards a sustainable energy transition, the government acknowledges the need to address the economic viability and scalability of green hydrogen technologies. While initially, a combination of different technologies may be required, the adoption of cost-effective and competitive solutions will naturally drive widespread acceptance and integration across the country.
In conclusion, India’s exploration of green hydrogen production from unconventional sources, such as seawater and municipal wastewater, showcases the country’s commitment to sustainable and decarbonized energy systems. By leveraging local water resources and advancing research and development efforts, India aims to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, promote energy security, and play a significant role in the global green hydrogen market.