February 2021

At the beginning of 2021, over 30 countries have released hydrogen road maps,

the industry has announced more than 200 hydrogen projects and ambitious investment plans, and governments worldwide have committed more than $70 billion in public funding.

What is interesting is that a significant number of these projects are focused on green hydrogen – a fuel that is created using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. Improving green hydrogen production technologies, falling costs of electrolysers and fuel cell stacks, and increasingly concerted policy actions to encourage green hydrogen projects in different parts of the world are coming together to create a fresh momentum for energy transition. This momentum exists along the entire value chain and is accelerating cost reductions in hydrogen production, transmission, distribution, retail and end applications.

Efforts are under way in India as well. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has been working towards drafting a Green Hydrogen Mission. It has already supported several R&D and demonstration projects. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued a notification proposing amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (1989) to incorporate safety standards for hydrogen fuel cell technology vehicles.

The adoption of hydrogen has seen several supporters in the industry as well. In its quest to become carbon-neutral by 2035, Reliance Industries plans to replace transportation fuels with hydrogen and clean electricity. Similarly, NTPC is considering setting up a green hydrogen production facility in Andhra Pradesh. Several large solar and wind IPPs are preparing to participate in SECI’s proposed tender for green hydrogen-based power production.

Against this backdrop, the future of hydrogen, particularly green hydrogen, looks promising in India. However, green hydrogen development will require a deep and objective understanding of the facts pertaining to the current status of the sector in terms of production and consumption, the competitive gap between renewable hydrogen and its fossil alternatives, the plans for further development of clean pathways for hydrogen production and use, and the policies that incentivise the adoption of clean hydrogen technologies over fossil-based fuels and feedstock. It will be interesting to see how these efforts pan out in the coming years.

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