Hydrogen, as an energy carrier, is crucial to achieve the decarbonization of hard-to-reduce sectors. Many sectors such as iron ore and steel, fertilizers, refining, methanol and shipping emit significant amounts of CO2, and carbon-free hydrogen will play a critical role in enabling deep decarbonisation.
India is one of the pioneers in the field of green hydrogen. There are several reasons why India is pursuing this with vigor and conviction.
First, neither hydrogen nor the electrolyzer is a new technology. More than 70 million tonnes of hydrogen are produced globally each year, with India accounting for around 8% of global production.
Second, India’s distinct advantage in low-cost renewable energy generation and world-class clean energy execution capabilities makes green hydrogen the most competitive form of hydrogen in the medium term. This makes India potentially one of the most competitive green hydrogen producers in the world. Since 75% of the cost of green hydrogen depends on renewable energy, we should aim to further reduce the cost of solar energy to Rs 1 per Kw/h through lower financing cost.
Energy security is the third important reason to pursue green hydrogen as it will enable the emergence of a locally produced energy carrier that can reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports by $160 billion per year. Additionally, with 500 GW of renewables expected to come online by 2030, green hydrogen could be a solution to extract value from excess renewable energy and avoid duck curve opportunities in the network. Key policy measures to create a green hydrogen ecosystem have recently been announced.
Here are the three steps that will make India a leader in green hydrogen. First, India should make urgent efforts to secure time-limited export markets. The EU is quadrupling its green hydrogen import plans for 2030. There is huge export potential to the EU, Japan and South Korea. Second, India should encourage industrial R&D in electrolysers and other green hydrogen components. Indian companies cannot depend on foreign technology providers.
We need to industrialize next generation hydrogen technologies in India.
Third, industrial applications such as refining and urea-free fertilizers must be mandated to move to 100% green hydrogen by 2030 to ensure economies of scale for this nascent industry to thrive. With these measures, the price of green hydrogen is expected to fall from $4 per kg to $1 per kg by 2030. With appropriate policy support, industry action, market generation and increased interest investors, India can position itself as a low-cost, zero-carbon country. global hub for green hydrogen manufacturing.