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India's Ambitious Green Hydrogen Mission: A Path to Sustainable Growth and Energy Security

23 Feb 2023

Green hydrogen, also known as renewable hydrogen, is a zero-emission fuel produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis powered by renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or hydro.

Unlike conventional hydrogen production methods, green hydrogen does not emit greenhouse gases and can serve as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels in various sectors, including transportation, industry, and power generation. 

India, with its abundant renewable energy resources and ambitious climate goals, has recognized the potential of green hydrogen in its energy transition plan. The Indian government's approval of the National Green Hydrogen Mission with a significant budget allocation for green hydrogen production and electrolyser manufacturing incentives underscores the country's commitment to promoting this emerging technology.

Amitabh Kant, the former CEO of NITI Aayog, has highlighted India's potential to become a major exporter of green hydrogen and producer of electrolyser due to its size and scale. He emphasized the need to bring down the cost of green hydrogen to $2.5 per kilogram within the next two to three years and $1 per kilogram by 2050, from the current $5 per kilogram.

The cost of green hydrogen production is a crucial factor in its adoption, as it currently remains more expensive than fossil fuel-based hydrogen. However, experts predict that with advancements in technology, increased economies of scale, and government support, the cost of green hydrogen production will continue to decrease, making it a more competitive alternative to conventional fuels.

In addition to the National Green Hydrogen Mission, several state governments in India have announced their plans to promote green hydrogen production. For instance, the Gujarat government has proposed setting up a Green Hydrogen Park, while the Tamil Nadu government has announced its intention to establish a Green Hydrogen Hub.

The Indian government's push towards green hydrogen production aligns with its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2070, announced during the Climate Ambition Summit 2020. As one of the world's largest carbon emitters, India's transition to clean energy sources, including green hydrogen, is critical in achieving global climate targets.

Apart from its environmental benefits, green hydrogen can also contribute to India's energy security and economic growth. India's dependence on oil imports makes it vulnerable to price volatility and supply disruptions, which can have a significant impact on its economy. By promoting domestic production of green hydrogen, India can reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels and strengthen its energy security. Moreover, the manufacturing of electrolyser and other green hydrogen-related technologies can also generate employment opportunities and contribute to the country's economic growth. India's expertise in the manufacturing sector can be leveraged to develop a robust green hydrogen ecosystem and establish the country as a global leader in this technology. 

However, the adoption of green hydrogen still faces several challenges. The initial capital costs of setting up green hydrogen production facilities and related infrastructure are high, and the technology is still in the early stages of development. Additionally, the availability of renewable energy sources, especially in remote areas, can limit the widespread adoption of green hydrogen. 

In conclusion, India's push towards green hydrogen production and electrolyser manufacturing is a significant step towards achieving its net-zero emissions goal and promoting sustainable economic growth. While the adoption of green hydrogen still faces several challenges, the potential benefits, including environmental sustainability, energy security, and economic growth, make it a technology worth pursuing.

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