In a world struggling to address the issue of climate change and growing carbon footprint, green hydrogen is being heralded as the future of energy. Owing to its decarbonising potential and non-polluting nature, green hydrogen is seen as a promising alternative to replacing fossil fuels.
Divergent from grey hydrogen, which is produced from fossil fuels and causes significant carbon dioxide emissions, the production of green hydrogen employs a carbon-neutral process known as electrolysis. The recent initiatives of the Government of India (GoI), such as the announcement of a National Hydrogen Mission in Budget 2021-22 and the proposed introduction of green hydrogen consumption obligations for fertiliser and petroleum refining industry, indicate the country’s resolve to transition towards an economy fueled by green hydrogen.
Introduction of green hydrogen into the country’s energy mix could not have been timed better. The energy demand is expected to double by 2040 and though the country is making strides towards harnessing solar and wind energy, the inherent limitations in the expansion of these renewable energy sources could mean a continued reliance on fossil fuels. The pace of capacity addition to existing renewable projects has taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adequate availability of sites too continues to remain challenge to the development of large-scale renewable energy projects. The adoption of green hydrogen may offset these challenges and put the country back on track to achieve its renewable energy targets under the Paris Agreement.
However, India’s transition towards a green hydrogen economy (GHE) can only happen once certain key issues are addressed.