“Our approach for cleaner energy and low carbon economy will be guided by a well-defined energy transition road map with seven key drivers, as outlined by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi in October last year," Pradhan said at the Clean Energy Conclave organized by the Department of Biotechnology.
“This essentially means it will be a healthy mix of all commercially viable energy sources. We will attach high priority for maximizing deployment of energy sources, including biofuels, emerging fuels such as hydrogen, available within the country," he added.
Green hydrogen gas is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyzer, that may be powered by electricity generated from clean energy sources such as wind and solar, or ‘green’ hydrogen.
“Our oil and gas companies are already developing projects for use of hydrogen as fuel," Pradhan added.
There is growing interest in the space, as India is running the largest renewable energy project, with record low solar and wind power tariffs and Solar Energy Corp. of India looking to invite bids to build green hydrogen plants. Apart from state-owned firms, such as NTPC Ltd and Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, private companies Greenko, Adani Group and Acme Solar Holdings Ltd have been tying up with technology providers too.
“There is also an increased push to adopt hydrogen fuel mix. Last year, we launched a hydrogen enriched-Compressed Natural Gas (HCNG) plant and dispensing station in Delhi and also rolled out the first set of buses with HCNG. In Budget 2021, a National Hydrogen Mission has been launched," Pradhan said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November announced plans to launch a National Hydrogen Energy Mission, buttressing India’s green energy credentials with the carbon emission-free next-generation fuel.
“Natural gas will be as a significant transition fuel for us. We are taking all efforts to shift towards a gas-based economy to increase the share of natural gas from the current 6% to 15% by 2030 by developing the nation-wide gas grid and other gas infrastructure, including city gas distribution and LNG regasification terminals. Additionally, we are promoting LNG as a fuel for 10% of long-haul heavy-duty trucks and setting up of 1,000 LNG stations," Pradhan said.
India is pushing for a gas-based economy. The share of gas in India’s primary energy mix is far behind the global average of 24%. The government plans to increase this share to 15% by 2030, with gas demand expected to be driven by fertiliser, power, city gas distribution, and steel sectors.
“I am happy to share that the ethanol-blending percentage has risen from 0.67% in 2012-13 to reach 8.5% this year. This year, the ethanol supplies contract has surged to 332 crore litres, which is 91% more in comparison to the ethanol supplies received last year," Pradhan said.
Increased ethanol blending with fossil fuels will help reduce pollution and strengthen India’s resolve towards fulfilling commitments made at COP-21, the UN Climate Change Conference held in France in 2015. It will also help lower India’s energy import dependency and lead to lowering the crude oil import bill.