Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an Independence Day speech on Sunday that the country is launching a new National Hydrogen Mission.
Modi said green hydrogen will play a crucial role in helping the nation to mitigate climate change. He said India should become a global hub for green hydrogen production and exports.
“This will not only help India to make new progress in the field of energy self-reliance but will also become a new inspiration for clean energy transition all over the world. New opportunities from green growth to the green job are opening up today for our start-ups and youth,” said Modi.
The production and use of green hydrogen, produced from renewable electricity, will play a significant role in India’s energy transition as it strives to reduce carbon emissions. Hydrogen is already being explored in transport as fuel for longer-range vehicles and heavy duty trucks, and in the power sector for longer-term energy storage.
Manoj K Upadhyay, founder and chairman of ACME Group, described the hydrogen mission announcement as “an essential and visionary step at the backdrop of a recent report on climatic conditions because of human-influenced pollution and emissions … Mass deployment of renewable energy in India helped us to produce electricity cheaper than any other sources of energy. Similarly, the deployment of green hydrogen at the lowest cost will help us in a cost leadership position not only to meet our green hydrogen and ammonia demand internally, but also to become a major exporter of green hydrogen.”
According to a recent report by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), hydrogen demand in India was close to 6 million ton per year in 2020, with most of the demand coming from ammonia production and refineries. Most hydrogen in the nation is produced using natural gas through steam methane (CH4) reforming and is used in the refinery and fertilizer industries. The hydrogen is “gray,” as the carbon byproduct leads to CO2 generation.
“Green hydrogen” is zero-carbon hydrogen production through the electrolysis of water (splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen) using renewable electricity. However, the costs of hydrogen from electrolysis (using grid or renewable) today are relatively very high compared to hydrogen from natural gas reformation. The cost can be expected to fall significantly in the coming years as the cost of electricity and electrolyzers falls.
A number of projects have been announced in India, both from the public and private sectors. JSW Energy partnering with Australia-based Fortescue Future Industries on green hydrogen for steelmaking and hydrogen mobility. Indian Oil has announced plans to build the country’s first green hydrogen plant at its Mathura refinery. And BGR Energy has launched a new partnership with Ireland’s Fusion Fuel Green on a demonstrator plant for cost-competitive green hydrogen. In addition, a number of companies have set up the India Hydrogen Alliance, led by Reliance Industries.
ACME Group recently commissioned the world’s first integrated commercial-scale pilot plant for green hydrogen production in Rajasthan. Green hydrogen at the plant will be produced using a 5 MWp solar array, which is an integral part of the project. The green ammonia plant, once commissioned, will produce 5 tons per day of green ammonia, with an annual output of 1,750 tons to 1,800 tons of green fuel.
“This R&D pilot has given us knowledge, experience, and learnings which we shall utilize in our large-scale green hydrogen and ammonia plants under development,” said ACME Group’s Upadhyay.