India May Kick Start Hydrogen Ecosystem Development: Dharmendra Pradhan
"The enthusiasm about hydrogen has a simple reason: whether it’s used in a fuel cell or burned to create heat, wherever hydrogen replaces fossil fuels, it slows global warming. Inclusion of “Hydrogen” as an energy carrier in the future energy portfolio presents a unique opportunity to address emerging energy sectors, including the power to gas, power to power, and power to mobility and even vehicle to grid applications.”
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan said that India is looking towards various colours to kick-start the hydrogen ecosystem development. Addressing the Hydrogen RoundTable on “Hydrogen Economy: New Delhi Dialogue – 2021”, he said that in India, we have taken various initiatives with respect to the greater use of hydrogen in India’s energy mix. The government of India recently announced the National Hydrogen Mission in the Union Budget 2021 for making a hydrogen roadmap for the country. “We are working on a pilot project on Blue Hydrogen, Hydrogen CNG (H-CNG) and Green Hydrogen. Through technological advancements, we are blending hydrogen with compressed natural gas for use as a transportation fuel as well as an industrial input to refineries. 50 buses in Delhi are plying on blended hydrogen in Compressed Natural Gas on a pilot basis. We plan to scale it up in the coming months across the major cities of India.”
The minister said that Energy is integral to support our fast-growing economy, and we are developing an energy sector which will be growth-centric, industry-friendly and environment-conscious. He said that we have the onerous task of ensuring energy justice and ending energy poverty in the country. This requires ample access to affordable energy to improve the lives of Indians coupled with the need to have a smaller carbon footprint.
Shri Pradhan said that the contours of India’s energy transition are changing fast. “Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi has outlined a new energy map of India in October last year with seven key drivers, and, indeed, one of them is development of emerging fuels, particularly Hydrogen.” The minister said that the Government is developing a clear roadmap for a self-reliant India or an AatmaNirbhar Bharat, which seeks to place India as a manufacturing hub well-integrated with global supply chains. In this effort, energy will have a defining role.
Shri Pradhan said that hydrogen has great potential to emerge as a future source of energy. “The enthusiasm about hydrogen has a simple reason: whether it’s used in a fuel cell or burned to create heat, wherever hydrogen replaces fossil fuels, it slows global warming. Inclusion of “Hydrogen” as an energy carrier in the future energy portfolio presents a unique opportunity to address emerging energy sectors, including the power to gas, power to power, and power to mobility and even vehicle to grid applications.”
The Minister said that India remains committed to environmental and climate causes with a massive thrust on deploying renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. In the past six years, India has increased its renewable power portfolio from 32 GW to almost 100 GW. “We are well on track to achieve 450 GW target of renewable energy generating capacity by 2030, he added. Diversification of our energy basket would be the key lever enabling this transition. However, it is equally important that the new energy-mix options synergize and co-exist with the established base technology already operational in the respective countries, in which, huge capital investments have been made. That’s why the emergence of hydrogen at the centre stage is a welcome development.”
Shri Pradhan said that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is committed to augment the hydrogen supply chain infrastructure in the country. “Presently, as in the case of other countries, our petroleum sector is the largest producer of hydrogen for various refinery process operations. Hence, we realize petroleum sector’s capability to produce hydrogen molecules, stored and traded as gas, making it a natural votary of this new energy form. It provides us an opportunity to utilize existing business models and infrastructure unlike other e-options.”
The Minister said that Hydrogen is also capable of aligning with the Ministry’s other flagship schemes, like the promotion of compressed biogas under the Sustainable Alternative for Affordable towards Transportation (SATAT) scheme or promoting the gas-based economy or other initiatives on Waste-to-Energy. Such an integration will impart much more flexibility and capacity utilization to the vast infrastructure available or being created in India. He said that the utility of hydrogen is not going to be limited only to the transport sector. The maturity of the ecosystem can be accelerated through its usage as a decarbonizing agent for a range of sectors, including industry covering chemicals, iron, steel, fertilizer and refining, transport, heat and power.
Shri Pradhan said that by establishing synergies with natural gas, hydrogen can be easily adopted in the energy mix without seeking major infrastructural overhauling. “We are looking forward to introduce H-CNG as an intermittent technology in a big way for both automotive and domestic cooking applications.”
He said that Our refineries are planning to leverage the available surplus hydrogen capacities in gray form for meeting the initial demand in mainstreaming hydrogen. “One of such projects is underway at our Gujarat refinery of Indian Oil wherein the combination of hydrogen production through natural gas and its hyphenation with the carbon capture technology will result in the production of blue hydrogen. Multiple buses powered by fuel cells will be covering various iconic routes. Efforts are underway to leverage the vast CNG pipeline infrastructure to reduce the transportation cost of hydrogen.”
The Minister announced that India, with its steadfast efforts towards leading the energy transition, backed by robust political will, is committed to engage with partners for ushering-in the hydrogen economy.
H.E. Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, UAE, H.E. Mr. Angus Taylor, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Australia, H.E. Mr. Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, Denmark, and H.E. Mr. David M. Turk, Deputy Secretary of Energy, the United States also addressed the inaugural session of the roundtable.