Hydrogen is much more punchy than lithium-based batteries. India’s Federal Minister Nitin Disappointed (second from left) launched Toyota Mirai, the country’s first green hydrogen-based advanced fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), at his residence in March.
Hindustan Times | Hindustan Times | Getty Images
The scorching heat of the sun can be punished on summer days, and India’s vast coastline is difficult to defend. However, large amounts of water and abundant sunlight have paved the way for green energy, which can deprive India of its vast desire for fuel.
Indian companies have promised to invest billions of dollars in green hydrogen projects, but experts warn that the technology is still very new and its commercial viability has not been proven. increase.
Green hydrogen is a clean fuel produced by decomposing water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable energy such as solar power generation. When burned, no exhaust gas is emitted, only water is emitted.Environmentalists insist Not only will it help decarbonize heavy industries such as oil refining, fertilizers, steel and cement, but it will also help reduce global emissions.
“At this point, the technology is not mature and not cheap enough to be widely used,” Amit Bandari, Senior Fellow of Energy and Investment at Gateway House, a Mumbai-based think tank, told CNBC. rice field. He pointed out an example of solar energy that took about 10 years to become feasible.
The green hydrogen industry is still in its infancy, a pilot plant for researching technology, and it will take at least five years to show results, Bandari said.
“Ten years ago, when asked if solar energy was feasible, I would say” no “even if we knew the potential of solar power and the technology was available. It only started when the costs were comparable to traditional energy sources. For a long time, “he added, he was reluctant to amortize new technologies.
But without large-scale energy storage, Renewable energy cannot be a viable alternative to traditional power sources.
Lithium batteries are widely used in electric vehicles, but they cannot store large amounts of energy. Green hydrogen, which can be stored in large quantities, can power large vehicles such as long-distance trucks.
Last year, the Government of India announced a national green hydrogen policy aimed at production. 5 million tons of fuel per year by 2030. In February, we will offer tax incentives, allocate land, investment..
“To be a large global player, we need two important resources: water and cheap electricity,” Celeris Technologies Chairman Venkat Sumantran told CNBC. “India has a wide coastline with access to seawater and ample sunlight.”
Chennai-based consultancy offers new energy alternatives to fossil fuels in the automotive sector, Smantran, saying that some states in India have good sunlight all year round, which allows them to optimally deploy solar panel farms. Says.
However, becoming a global player also depends on how cheaply the solar cells that convert sunlight into energy are produced. “There are many signs that policies are in place to make this possible,” he added.
Indian companies investing in hydrogen
In recent months, several Indian companies have announced plans for green hydrogen.
- In January, India’s largest company by market capitalization Reliance Industries Announced that it will invest $ 75 billion in green energy, including an undisclosed amount for the green hydrogen project.
- In early April, Hyderabad-based Greenko Group and Belgium-based John Cockerill built the largest 2GW hydrogen electrolyzer Gigafactory in India outside of China.
- March, state-owned Indian Oil CorporationAlmost half of India’s petroleum product market share has launched a joint venture to develop green hydrogen in collaboration with two private companies. There are also plans to manufacture and sell electrolytic cells used in the production of green hydrogen.
- In November 2021, Adani Group, the world’s largest PV developer, announced that it would invest $ 70 billion in renewable energy infrastructure, including green hydrogen, by 2030.
Reliance Industries and Adani Group both pledged You can save $ 5 to $ 6 by reducing the world’s cheapest green hydrogen to $ 1 per kilogram, or about a quarter of a gallon. When contacted by CNBC, neither company provided details on how to significantly reduce costs.
Green hydrogen also fuels India’s strategic ambitions.
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani predicted that Green Energy could become a game changer.
“Europe overtook India and China to become the world leader when timber was replaced by coal. With the advent of oil, the United States and West Asia outperformed others,” he said in February. Said at a conference on renewable energy in the city of Pune, India. ..
“When India is not only self-sufficient in green and clean energy, but also becomes a large exporter, it will help India emerge as a global powerhouse,” he said at the time.
Mr. Bandari of Gateway House admitted that there was a lot of hype around Green Hydrogen and said it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“The important thing is that hype can create its own reality. With the right capital, human intelligence is at stake. And technology is evolving. Costs are starting to fall, That creates demand, “he said.
“The momentum is on the innovation side, costs are declining, and there is already demand for ready-to-absorb green hydrogen in the oil refining, fertilizer and steel industries,” he added.
Necessary pilot project
Green hydrogen will only be commercially viable when it becomes cheaper, Bandari said.
“You can’t start with a 500 MW plant,” he said, saying that even a company like Reliance, who has long experience dealing with hydrogen gas in oil refineries, wouldn’t invest in a huge plant without a pilot project. Added. “We are a few years away from the large capacity,” he said.
According to Bandari, taking advantage of India’s 7,500-kilometer-long coastline is also complicated.
“There are other claims about the coastline. It’s not unmanned. There are several big cities and ports, and we need to weigh it against the need to protect mangroves and other fragile ecosystems,” he said. Said.
Still, he admitted, if successful, the promotion of green hydrogen would make India less vulnerable to price shocks in natural gas and oil.
“India is now vulnerable to all kinds of external and geopolitical shocks. With green hydrogen, that vulnerability is reduced,” he said.