JAPANESE CARMAKER TOYOTA and the Worldwide Centre for Automotive Know-how began a pilot venture a 12 months in the past to check the Mirai, a mid-size sedan powered by hydrogen gasoline cells, for the Indian roads and local weather. The venture was launched by Nitin Gadkari, Union minister for highway transport and highways. Gadkari has been driving the automotive for some time now and is satisfied that “hydrogen automotive is the way forward for this nation”. Inside a 12 months, he feels, India can have automobiles, buses and vans operating on inexperienced hydrogen.
Gadkari’s colleague, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, can also be assured of getting hydrogen-powered trains to India in 2023. The Railways had invited bids a 12 months in the past for hydrogen gasoline cell trains and, initially, two diesel-electric trains can be transformed to function on inexperienced hydrogen gasoline cells within the Jind-Sonipat part in Haryana.
India might need simply began exploring mobility powered by inexperienced hydrogen, however the world has already been betting large on it. Final 12 months, within the German state of Decrease Saxony, the route between Cuxhaven and Buxtehude turned the world’s first to be linked by trains operating solely on inexperienced hydrogen. Below the plan, 14 hydrogen-powered trains manufactured by the French firm Alstom are changing 15 diesel trains.
These Alstom trains are emission-free in operation and have a spread of 1,000km. “Our Coradia iLint is the world’s first passenger prepare to run on a hydrogen gasoline cell that generates electrical vitality for propulsion. Particularly developed to be used on non-electrified strains, this prepare emits solely water vapour and condensation, whereas sustaining excessive efficiency,” stated Olivier Loison, managing director of Alstom India Cluster.
A hydrogen prepare prices 25-35 per cent greater than a diesel prepare. “However, there can be financial savings on upkeep, and the prices of gasoline cells are additionally anticipated to return down,” stated Loison.
The Toyota Mirai is already being offered in Japan, the US and in some European international locations. It runs on a gasoline cell system that produces electrical energy from a response between hydrogen and oxygen. There aren’t any tailpipe emissions aside from water. It consumes about 4kg of hydrogen to journey 500km. Another carmakers are additionally at it.
About 15,500 hydrogen-powered automobiles had been offered worldwide in 2021. It’s only a tiny drop within the 66 million automobiles offered final 12 months. However, hydrogen automotive gross sales are rising; final 12 months they had been double that of the pre-pandemic ranges, suggesting that the know-how may very well be able to go mainstream.
Vehicles, nevertheless, are simply one of many many use instances for inexperienced hydrogen. It may very well be used within the petrochemicals business; metal makers are taking a look at it as a way to provide inexperienced metal; hydrogen is used to provide ammonia, methanol and different chemical compounds; it might emerge instead gasoline powering the delivery business; it might at some point even be used for heating properties and powering home equipment, transported via the present gasoline pipelines.
However, the place do you get inexperienced hydrogen from? Hydrogen is essentially present in water (which is a compound of oxygen and hydrogen) or as hydrogen gasoline, which is flamable. Inexperienced hydrogen is produced by a way known as electrolysis, which breaks down water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen through the use of electrical energy. It is a extremely energy-intensive course of. At present, inexperienced hydrogen prices round $6 a kilo.
To supply inexperienced hydrogen on a mass scale, you want massive electrolysers. They value $600-800 a kilowatt, in line with a white paper by Siemens. At this price, inexperienced hydrogen manufacturing is dear. Additionally, if a lot of the electrical energy used for the manufacturing of inexperienced hydrogen is non-renewable, it negates the very goal of adopting inexperienced hydrogen.
Nonetheless, consultants bat in favour of inexperienced hydrogen because it may very well be extremely useful for creating economies like India which are closely depending on imported oil. “We import $160 billion value of vitality. Now we have to scale back that import invoice. We’re the world’s third-largest carbon footprint creator, as a result of we emit about 3.6 giga tonnes of carbon dioxide. Now we have to carry that down. There may be additionally this aspiration of making 450 gW of renewable vitality by 2030. There inexperienced hydrogen will play a really vital function,” stated scientist Raghunath Mashelkar.
It appears a few of India’s greatest companies share the view. Reliance Industries is investing Rs75,000 crore in its new vitality enterprise. A part of the plan is establishing 4 giga-factories. One in every of these can be an electrolyser manufacturing facility to provide inexperienced hydrogen and a gasoline cell manufacturing facility to transform hydrogen into energy.
Adani Group, earlier this 12 months, entered right into a partnership with TotalEnergies of France to create what can be “the world’s largest inexperienced hydrogen ecosystem”. Adani New Industries Restricted plans to take a position $50 billion over 10 years in inexperienced hydrogen. Within the preliminary section, the corporate will develop manufacturing capability of 1 million tonnes a 12 months earlier than 2030. Inexperienced hydrogen is a pure adjacency for the group, which is already a big participant within the photo voltaic vitality house in addition to thermal energy era and transmission.
India’s largest gasoline retailer Indian Oil, engineering and building firm Larsen & Toubro and renewable vitality agency ReNew Energy even have large plans for inexperienced hydrogen. “Inexperienced hydrogen cannot solely assist us to decarbonise varied industrial sectors, but additionally present vitality safety, which is vital to assist the nation’s financial progress,” stated Subramanian Sarma, whole-time director and senior government vp (vitality) at L&T.
L&T lately commissioned a inexperienced hydrogen plant at its A.M. Naik Heavy Engineering Advanced in Hazira, Gujarat. The plant is designed for an electrolyser capability of 800kW. At present, it’s producing 45 kilo inexperienced hydrogen a day, which can be used for captive consumption.
State-owned energy producer NTPC is establishing a inexperienced hydrogen mobility venture in Leh Ladakh. It can see 5 gasoline cell buses operating in and round Leh. The renewable vitality arm of NTPC additionally has a pact with Gujarat Gasoline the place inexperienced hydrogen can be produced and blended with piped pure gasoline and can be used for cooking in NTPC’s Kawas township.
Tata Motors, India’s largest business car maker, has been creating hydrogen gasoline cells and testing this know-how for a number of years. It has received an order from Indian Oil to produce 15 hydrogen gasoline cell buses which are being developed. Testing of the second-phase prototypes is predicted quickly.
Indian Oil can be producing inexperienced hydrogen in phases. As a primary step, it is going to be implementing a 5 KTA (40 mW) inexperienced hydrogen plant at Mathura refinery and a 2 KTA (16 mW) plant at Panipat refinery. “The corporate is venturing into inexperienced hydrogen manufacturing and is focusing on 5 per cent of hydrogen produced by it as inexperienced hydrogen by 2027-28 and 10 per cent by 2029-30,” it informed shareholders a while in the past.
Tata Motors believes inexperienced hydrogen can be an essential stepping stone in attaining its net-zero ambitions. “The supply of hydrogen and the price of hydrogen are the essential boundaries it’s a must to overcome,” stated Rajendra Petkar, president and chief know-how officer. He stated getting down the prices of manufacturing inexperienced hydrogen will decide the expansion and success of the business.
“It’s evident that the price of inexperienced hydrogen have to be considerably introduced right down to make it inexpensive and realise its full potential,” stated L&T’s Sarma. “Varied business gamers, together with L&T, are engaged on totally different initiatives to carry value competitiveness. The price of inexperienced energy era and storage, know-how advances in electrolyser manufacturing and the applying of fabric science to indigenise provide chain elements are the areas which are being labored upon.”
Price is the important thing. Mashelkar, who’s chairman of Reliance Innovation Council, stated inexperienced hydrogen prices wanted to return right down to $1 to $2 a kilo from the present $5 to $6 a kilo, if it was to develop into inexpensive. He believes it’s attainable via analysis, innovation and coverage modifications. “Have a look at the electrolyser which splits water. As the dimensions of the electrolyser goes up, the prices come down. So, with scale the prices come down,” he stated. He additionally identified that after splitting water, we get medical-grade oxygen as a byproduct, which may very well be offered individually.
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani believes that India can produce inexperienced hydrogen at $1 a kilo in a decade. “Though the prices of hydrogen from electrolysis at present are excessive, they’re anticipated to fall considerably within the coming years. New applied sciences are rising for hydrogen storage and transportation, which can dramatically scale back the price of distribution,” he stated at a local weather convention earlier.
Reliance New Power Photo voltaic had signed a pact with Denmark’s Stiesdal to fabricate the latter’s hydrogen electrolysers in India. The partnership would “speed up value discount and commercialisation of their pressurised alkaline electrolyser know-how”, Ambani informed Reliance shareholders some time in the past.
It isn’t simply the manufacturing value. Transportation of inexperienced hydrogen is just not simple and desires infrastructure improvement, stated T.V. Narendran, managing director of Tata Metal. “Why is coal so standard in India? As a result of, it’s simple to maneuver. You may transfer it by rail, you may transfer it by ship, the ports can deal with it. If you wish to change from coal to gasoline, you want the pipelines and the LNG terminals. After which if you wish to change to hydrogen then you definately want that. The associated fee and complexity of this transition must be thought via,” he stated.
The Worldwide Renewable Power Company (IREA) has recognized that shifting to inexperienced hydrogen-based heavy industries would require a significant technological shift of their core industrial processes. “The change have to be led by coverage makers who, via insurance policies and regulation, can speed up the change and drive investments on this route,” it famous.
The World Financial institution says the demand for hydrogen was 87 million metric tonnes in 2020, and it’s anticipated to develop to 500–680 million metric tonnes by 2050. Nonetheless, 95 per cent of present hydrogen manufacturing is fossil-fuel primarily based. So, it’s hardly inexperienced. Inexperienced hydrogen manufacturing might want to get a lot of its energy requirement from renewable sources.
The inexperienced hydrogen coverage notified by the federal government this 12 months provides waiver of inter-state transmission prices for 25 years to producers of inexperienced hydrogen and inexperienced ammonia from the tasks commissioned earlier than June 30, 2025. So, an organization that’s producing inexperienced hydrogen in a single state might have renewable vitality vegetation in some other state. Inexperienced hydrogen and inexperienced ammonia vegetation may even be granted open entry to sourcing renewable vitality inside 15 days of receipt of utility. The federal government is planning to arrange manufacturing zones for inexperienced hydrogen and inexperienced ammonia manufacturing vegetation.
Storage of hydrogen is a bit tough, as its small molecule is tough to comprise and leaks will add to inexperienced home gases. “Hydrogen itself emits no carbon dioxide when burned or utilized in a gasoline cell. However when emitted into the ambiance, hydrogen contributes to local weather change by growing the quantities of different greenhouse gases similar to methane, ozone and water vapour, leading to oblique warming,” stated Steven Hamburg, chief scientist on the Environmental Protection Fund (EDF), and Ilissa Ocko, senior local weather scientist at EDF.
Clearly, there’s a lengthy strategy to go for inexperienced hydrogen to go mainstream. Bringing down prices can be a key enabler. Whereas firms all over the world are taking large steps in inexperienced hydrogen know-how and utilization, there are lots of issues and challenges that must be addressed for it to essentially dwell as much as being inexperienced.