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NEW DELHI: Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Future Energy Limited has signed a pact with Fortescue Future Industries Pty Ltd on potential green hydrogen production in India, the companies said in a joint statement on Thursday.

This comes in the backdrop of a growing traction for new generation emission free fuel in India, with the government considering a proposal to make it mandatory for fertiliser plants and oil refineries to purchase green hydrogen as part of plans to cut the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

“JSW Future Energy Limited, a 100% subsidiary of JSW Energy Limited has entered into a framework agreement with Australian Fortescue Future Industries Pty Ltd, a 100% subsidiary of Fortescue Future Industries Pty Ltd (FFI) to collaborate and conduct scoping work on potential projects relating to the production of green hydrogen and utilizing it for green steel making, hydrogen mobility, green ammonia and other mutually agreed industrial applications in India," the statement said.

There are a number of state run and private firms who are firming up their green hydrogen plans. A recent case in point being state run Indian oil Corporation Ltd. announcing its plan to build the country’s first green hydrogen plant at its Mathura refinery. Also, Reliance Industries Ltd has announced plans to build an electrolyzer giga factory and a fuel cell giga factory.

India’s push for green hydrogen gas, produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyser, which may be powered by electricity generated from clean energy sources such as wind and solar is driven by its energy security imperatives. Green hydrogen can be a game changer for India, which imports 85% of its oil and 53% of gas demand.

“JSW Energy has laid out a strategic blueprint to become a 20 GW capacity power generating company by 2030 with about 85% of the portfolio comprising of green and renewable energy sources. We also aspire to be a green energy future tech company with a pro-active approach to adopt innovative technologies like green hydrogen, offshore wind, battery energy storage and be a front-runner in the green energy revolution," JSW Energy joint managing director and CEO, Prashant Jain said in the statement.

Around 3.6 million tonnes (mt) of India’s annual hydrogen consumption of 6.7 mt is utilized in petroleum refining and the rest in fertilizer production. JSW Energy has an operational 4.55 GW portfolio and a 2.5 GW renewable energy capacity under construction.

As reported by Mint earlier, a draft note prepared for the Union cabinet said fertilizer plants and oil refineries would have to use green hydrogen to meet 0.15% of their total hydrogen requirements, starting 2023-24, and ramping it up to a tenth of their total requirements within six years.

“Green hydrogen is going to be a disruption in the clean energy space and in the near future, we believe it would replace the fossil fuels used for various industrial applications as well as in the transportation and mobility sector," Jain added.

India’s green hydrogen push is expected to result in natural gas saving of 3.6 mt and carbon dioxide reduction of 10 mt by 2029-30. The government plans to implement the Green Hydrogen Consumption Obligation (GHCO) in fertilizer production and petroleum refining, similar to what was done with renewable purchase obligations. India’s total hydrogen demand is expected to touch 11.7 mt by 2029-30 from the current 6.7 mt.

According to the draft cabinet note, GHCO is proposed to be raised from 0.15% in 2023-24 to 0.25% in 2024-25 and 0.5% in 2025-26. Subsequently, it may be raised to 1.5%, 3.5% and 6.5% in 2026-27, 2027-28 and 2028-29, respectively, with the 10% mark targeted for 2029-30.

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