New Delhi: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural gas has asked its oil and gas PSUs to set up seven to eight Green Hydrogen pilot plants by the end of 2021, said Secretary Tarun Kapoor. The top bureaucrat also said that a Hydrogen corpus fund, which has been created through contributions from various oil and gas PSUs is funding a number of Hydrogen pilot projects in the country, contributing towards India's quest to take Hydrogen to commercial scale.
While addressing an e-roundtable on Hydrogen, Kapoor said, "The Ministry has asked its oil and gas companies to set up seven to eight Green Hydrogen pilot plants by the end of 2021. Under this initiative, oil and gas PSUs are planning various activities around production of Green Hydrogen and its use in refineries and for blending with natural gas, and other mobility applications."
Elaborating on India's Hydrogen pilot projects which are being funded through the Hydrogen corpus fund, Kapoor said, "We have Centre for High Technology (CHT) which has a Hydrogen Corpus Fund. This fund has been created through contributions from various oil PSUs. And several Hydrogen projects are being financed through this fund. Projects like setting up of green Hydrogen units through solar electricity, and through all the three electrolytic pathways is being funded through this corpus. It is also partially funding Indian Oil's collaborative programme with IISC-Bangalore to set up a demo unit of Green Hydrogen production. The Ministry is also funding a project to develop and demonstrate 15 fuel cell buses by Indian Oil."
Asserting that the government wants emission-free Hydrogen fuel to be a game-changer, the Petroleum Secretary added, "If we want Hydrogen to be a game-changer, then the volumes required are tremendous. We want Hydrogen to come to commercial scale as soon as possible."
The news comes in the backdrop of India looking to diversify its sources of crude oil in order to align its energy security with its strategic interests. After the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) refused to ease production cuts, India had asked its state-run refiners to reduce oil import from the OPEC and look towards other sources. The development and usage of Hydrogen as fuel can be a game-changer for India, which meets over 80 percent of its crude requirements and 50 percent of its natural gas requirement through imports. However, one of the major challenges faced by the energy sector is to bring down the cost of production of Hydrogen to around $2 per kg in order to make it economically viable.
In 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced plans to launch a National Hydrogen Mission, under which fertilizer, steel and petrochemicals industries will be mandated to use green hydrogen. A Cabinet note in this regard has already been prepared and is expected to be placed before the Union Cabinet for approval soon.