The search for a reliable, clean, and convenient fossil fuel replacement sparked a global race to secure future energy sources. Despite significant advancements in solar and wind power, the intermittent nature of their production remains a challenge. Nuclear electricity has remained prohibitively expensive for several decades. Although electric vehicles are growing in popularity, they still can’t compete with the ease of use offered by petrol or diesel-powered vehicles. However, India has taken a bold step towards renewable energy sources, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing a nationwide push towards this goal in his address to the country on India’s 75th Independence Day in 2021. The Centre aims to achieve energy independence and self-sufficiency in India before it celebrates its one-hundredth year of independence.
The Goal – Green Hydrogen Sector in India
The adoption of Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles also known as Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) is still in the early stages in India. However, we can’t deny that several companies in the country are making commendable efforts to promote and develop this technology. For instance, Tata Motors, India’s largest automobile manufacturer, has announced its intention to launch fuel-cell electric buses in the country, which is a significant step towards establishing a sustainable transportation system. Additionally, the Indian Oil Corporation has set up a pilot project to demonstrate the feasibility of using hydrogen fuel cell technology in backup power systems, which is a remarkable initiative.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that the Government of India has launched the ‘National Hydrogen Energy Mission’, which is a significant milestone towards promoting the development and deployment of hydrogen fuel cell technologies in the country. The mission aims to create a conducive environment for the growth of the hydrogen ecosystem in India and accelerate the country’s transition to a sustainable energy future. Additionally, some academic institutions in India, such as the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, are conducting research on fuel cell technology, which is an excellent sign of the country’s potential to become a global leader in clean energy.
However, it is undeniable that several challenges need to be addressed before hydrogen fuel cell technology can be widely adopted in India. One of the most significant obstacles is the lack of infrastructure for producing, distributing, and storing hydrogen fuel, which is crucial for the successful deployment of FCEVs. The high cost of fuel cell technology and the lack of public awareness about this technology are also significant barriers to its adoption, and addressing them will require a concerted effort from all stakeholders.
The adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology is still in its nascent stages in India, the country has made some remarkable strides towards promoting and developing this technology. With the right policies, investments, and collaborations, India can overcome the challenges and unlock the full potential of hydrogen fuel cell technology, which could play a crucial role in its future energy mix.
The Policy – Green Hydrogen Sector in India
India’s Green Hydrogen Sector mission is divided into four phases, each striving to increase the domestic generation of green hydrogen sectors or promote electrolysis facilities, both of which are crucial to the process. Although there have been significant advancements in India’s Green Hydrogen Sector, there are still many obstacles to overcome before the technology can be used on a widespread scale. The Green Hydrogen Mission, a potential next step, is a mission in the form of a plan. Approximately 75-80% of the cost of manufacturing eco-friendly hydrogen comes from various forms of renewable energy. Investors can collaborate on the development of electrolyzes, green hydrogen transportation mechanisms, the utilization of green hydrogen in the manufacturing of green steel and cement, and other projects like these. The mission aims to export approximately 70% of the renewable and green hydrogen produced in India by 2030. The yearly use of hydrogen across the state is estimated to reach 1.5 million tons by 2030.
Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) present India with a potential solution to its transportation problems. Although India has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the country’s rapidly increasing urban areas contribute to significant environmental issues. Widespread adoption of FCEVs might be necessary for a greener and more sustainable future. FCEVs generate electricity by combining hydrogen, the fuel source, with oxygen from the air, which is used as a fuel source, with oxygen present in the air. FCEVs produce zero emissions, and because they only generate water vapor as a byproduct, they have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
To reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels and strengthen its energy security, India must transition to hydrogen-powered automobiles. Hydrogen can be generated using a variety of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower, among others. India can manufacture green hydrogen and offer a stable environment for FCEVs by expanding its investment in renewable energy sources. FCEVs, also known as hydrogen fuel cell technology vehicles, have a higher range than battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Filling up a hydrogen automobile takes the same amount of time as filling up a standard petrol vehicle, but recharging a BEV takes hours.
The corporate community, academic community, and public sector must collaborate closely to mainstream FCEVs in India. The government could support the FCEV industry with research funds, research subsidies, and financial incentives. The scarcity of hydrogen refueling facilities in general use is a significant barrier for FCEVs. India can start slowly expanding its network of hydrogen fueling stations by initially putting them in highly populated areas along major thoroughfares. Incorporating FCEVs into the fleets of public transport systems is an excellent strategy for demonstrating the effectiveness of the technology and gaining support for wider deployment. Research and development spending on FCEVs and hydrogen fuel cell technologies must be prioritized. India can not only improve its own capabilities by investing in research and development but also position itself as a significant participant in the global market for FCEVs.
The costs of fuel cell technology and the expenses of generating, storing, and transporting hydrogen fuel cells must be lowered. Over time, advances in technology and economies of scale will make costs less expensive. Educating the general public about FCEVs’ benefits to the environment is critical. India can stimulate interest in and adoption of these vehicles by marketing them as a responsible alternative. With the appropriate laws, investments, and joint efforts, India can make significant headway in the adoption of FCEVs and contribute to the worldwide fight against climate change.
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