Solar plus hydrogen is the energy future of India: Dr Rajiv Kumar – NITI Aayog Vice Chairman

Solar plus green hydrogen could be the future of India, and with it, India could finally become an energy-abundant nation and a potential exporter as well, said Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. He was delivering the keynote address at an event on green hydrogen organised by the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), one of India’s leading science and technology think tanks.

Dr Kumar added that the government is committed to solar plus hydrogen as the vision for India and is exploring ways to scale up the production and availability of green hydrogen. Towards this, the government is considering setting an export target (which would imply an abundant domestic supply of green hydrogen). He also spoke of the other steps that the government is considering, which include inducing and incentivising a shift to green hydrogen in the hard-to-abate sectors, like steel and refineries. For the transport sectorone of the biggest pollutersNITI Aayog is pushing for green hydrogen and electric mobility to come together to reduce emissions.

“At the moment the cost of producing green hydrogen is about USD 4 – 5 per kg, but this can be brought down significantly if we get the scale right. Some companies have already made announcements to bring down the cost to USD 1 per kg. Though we have a long way to go, we will eventually get there,” he added.

“With industries, the government, and academia working together, we can realise India’s vision of solar + hydrogen and bring down costs enough to make it a public good,” he said. He emphasised that although India currently makes up 9.9% of the global grey hydrogen demand already, this is not the route that we should take. “Instead, we should take steps to shift from grey to green hydrogen,” he pointed out.

CSTEP’s event, H2: The Nuts & Bolts, brought together government, industry, and research experts for a panel discussion to look at the challenges and opportunities for green hydrogen in India.

Dr Paolo Frankl, Head of the Renewable Energy Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that considering the need to double green hydrogen availability in the next decade, India—with its capabilities—is set to play a critical role. However, he emphasised that the entire green hydrogen supply chain, including transport and storage, should be kept in mind.

Other panellists, such as Mr Arne Ballantine, CEO, Ohmium Inc.; Dr Karen Landmark, Chief Strategy Officer, Greenstat; and Dr N Rajalakshmi, Advisor, CSTEP, discussed various aspects of taking a holistic approach to the green hydrogen economy to ensure societal benefits.

For more details, and interviews with researchers, please write to us at cpe@cstep.in

About CSTEP: Headquartered in Bengaluru, the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) is one of India’s leading think tanks with a mission to enrich policymaking with innovative approaches using science and technology for a sustainable, secure, and inclusive society. CSTEP’s areas of focus are Climate, Environment and Sustainability; Energy and Power; AI and Digital Platforms; and Strategic Studies.

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