India announces ‘Green’ Hydrogen standard, a much-awaited clarity!

The green hydrogen standard issued by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India specifies an emission threshold of 2 kg CO2 equivalent/kg H2 as a 12-month average. India has also announced a definition for Green Hydrogen.

Green Hydrogen

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As one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, India is also committed to ensuring that its continued growth path is in line with its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2070. India also aspires to become energy-independent by 2047. 

With the fast-growing pace of the economy, the demand for energy and resources is also rising. The energy usage in the country has doubled during the past 20 years. It is further expected to grow by over 25% by 2030. Hence it is imperative for major energy-consuming sectors (like Transport, Cement, Iron & Steel, Textiles, Aluminium and Agriculture) to shift towards technologies that increment the share of renewable energy in the ‘energy mix’ while reducing the dependency on fossil fuels. 

Green Hydrogen has immense potential to enable the utilization of abundant renewable energy resources available across regions and seasons in the country. Green hydrogen can be used as a substitute for fossil fuels in petroleum refining, fertilizer production, steel manufacturing and other industries. Hydrogen can also be used for long-duration storage of renewable energy and clean transportation. It can also be used for decentralized power generation, aviation and marine transport.

Taking cognizance of the fact that Green Hydrogen can play a crucial role in achieving India’s aspirations of building a low-carbon and self-reliant economy, the Government of India launched the National Green Hydrogen Mission. The mission was launched early this year with an outlay of Rs 19,744 crore from FY 2023-24 to FY 2029-30. By 2030 the mission aims to:

  • Development of green hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonne) per annum with an associated renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 gigawatts (GW) in the country
  • Total investments of over Rs. 8 lakh crore
  • Creation of over Six lakh jobs
  • Cumulative reduction in fossil fuel imports over Rs. One lakh crore
  • Abatement of nearly 50 MMT of annual greenhouse gas emissions

Taking the National Green Hydrogen Mission forward

For further progress of the National Green Hydrogen Mission, the government has recently notified the ‘Green Hydrogen Standard for India’. Under the Green Hydrogen Standard, the government has outlined the requisite emission thresholds to be met for the production of hydrogen, that can be classified as ‘green’. 

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) after having discussions with various stakeholders, has decided to define green hydrogen as having a well-to-gate emission (including water treatment, electrolysis, gas purification, drying and compression of hydrogen) of not more than 2 kg CO2 equivalent/kg H2, taken as an average over last 12 month period. The Indian government has this limit for the hydrogen produced to be classified as “green” from renewable sources. 

The green hydrogen, as defined, includes both electrolysis-based and biomass-based hydrogen production methods.

According to the notification, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy shall prescribe a detailed methodology for measurement, reporting, monitoring, on-site verification, and certification of green hydrogen and its derivatives. The notification also states that the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Ministry of Power shall be the Nodal Authority for accreditation of agencies for the monitoring, verification and certification of Green Hydrogen production projects.

The Green Hydrogen Standard announced by the government yields much-awaited clarity to the Green Hydrogen community in the country. Having enunciated a definition for Green Hydrogen, India has now become one of the first few countries in the world to define Green Hydrogen.

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