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Rajiv Menon, Black & Veatch, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

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New Delhi: In an exclusive interview with SUMMEREnergyWorld, Rajiv Menon, Country Director and Managing Director – India, Black & Veatch, a US-based construction and consulting firm, said he sees India becoming a global leader in green hydrogen production. He adds, however, that power generation using green hydrogen is expected to take longer to establish in India.

Black & Veatch was recently selected by Mitsubishi Power Americas and Magnum Development, as the EPC supplier for the largest industrial green hydrogen production and storage facility in the United States, which will convert over 220 MW of renewable energy per day into 100 metric tons of green hydrogen and will gradually expand to 100% hydrogen use by 2045. Edited excerpts:

What is your take on India’s nascent green hydrogen market? What role can green hydrogen play in India’s energy transition goals?
We enthusiastically support India’s goal of producing 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year by 2030.

India imports the majority of its energy sources, including gas and oil, and subsidizes them heavily for domestic use. Household hydrogen will help provide the much-needed independence and diversity of India’s energy resources and support the decarbonisation of the electricity and mobility sectors. This is particularly encouraging as the development of solar and wind power will support the renewable energy needs for green hydrogen production in India.

It is also possible that hydrogen will contribute to India’s energy storage needs as the country increases its renewable energy production, which remains prone to variability issues. Hydrogen energy storage systems can both complement and serve as a reliable alternative to batteries to meet variable renewable energy production. Hydrogen goes beyond the physical limits of current mineral-based battery technologies to provide essentially infinite duration storage.

Power generation using green hydrogen is expected to take longer to establish in India. Nuclear power is expected to be the transition step as India moves down the carbon emissions ladder.

What will be the place of India on the world market in the years to come?
India is well positioned to become a world leader in green hydrogen production in the years to come. We expect India to become a net exporter of green hydrogen and/or green ammonia, as well as an exporter of electrolysers in the global supply chain. Over the next five years, several gigawatts of electrolyser manufacturing capacity are expected to be operational in India, and this capacity will contribute to the global supply chain.

What green hydrogen capacity and investments should India target to help it achieve its transition goals? Can you share with us approximate numbers and timelines?
Electrolyser technology has been available for many years, but new technologies are still maturing and their interactions with renewables are still being studied. It will therefore be difficult to predict at this stage how much green hydrogen capacity and investment India will need to target to achieve its transition goals.

Moreover, the dynamics of the Indian scenario are highly dependent on its energy imports and price fluctuations.

That said, one approach that could help determine a potential need for investment is to look at different national goals. For example, it is expected that India’s mobility sector will gradually split into electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, both for different sections of mobility, light-duty motor vehicles and electric vehicles. heavy transport. Extrapolating the current penetration rate of electric vehicles to a hydrogen-based mobility sector 10 years from now can help determine an estimated investment target.

What is the estimated value of the Indian green hydrogen market at present and how much is it expected to increase over the next decade?
Industry experts value the current green hydrogen market in India at $25 million based on a 5% market penetration in the automotive sector, which is expected to grow exponentially over the next 10 years. Other sectors such as the steel, energy and oil industries are expected to make progress towards green hydrogen, but the pace of development will likely be boosted by technological advancements in their core processes.

With the arrival of big players on the market, do you think this will have an impact on the costs of producing green hydrogen? What more needs to be done for this?
The cost of producing green hydrogen will mainly depend on the cost of renewable energy, water and electrolysers. Domestic manufacturing of solar panels and electrolysers will help reduce capital expenditure on green hydrogen plants as well as the cost of renewable energy.

Since current electrolyser technologies consume high levels of energy, further development of electrolyser technologies will be a main driver to reduce the cost of producing green hydrogen. Industry players addressing these issues will likely have an impact on green hydrogen production costs.

Another step India could take is to harness the benefits of digitalization. The integration of operational technology and information technology is an approach to improve the reliability, efficiency and resilience of the Indian process industry. The fusion of data analytics with engineering expertise can help deliver timely and actionable insights that maximize the full potential of industry assets and facilities, and help the industry transition efficiently to low-cost operations. low carbon.