Panel to Fast-Track Push for Hydrogen as Fuel

The Prime Minister’s Office will soon notify a high-level committee--likely to be chaired by NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar--that will work on fast-tracking development and usage of hydrogen as a fuel, an official said.

The expert committee will include scientists, industry leaders and policymakers from across stakeholder ministries. Kumar has already had two rounds of discussions with experts and stakeholder ministries on developing a roadmap for introducing hydrogen as a fuel.

Internal estimates show that even with the existing technology, cost of production of one kilogram of hydrogen using solar energy will be ₹70 compared with current fuel prices ranging over ₹80 per litre. Moreover, hydrogen can be indigenously produced with no imports needed, unlike India’s heavy dependence on imported fuel as of now.

The official cited earlier said that the committee will lay out a policy roadmap for hydrogen soon, following which it will be placed before the Cabinet for approval. The financial allocation to the scheme will be made once the policy roadmap is finalised.

Policymakers are of the view that hydrogen is the cleanest fuel and is three times more energetic than gasoline and diesel. “The National Hydrogen Mission is the work in progress,” NITI Aayog member VK Saraswat said.

According to Saraswat, technology is being developed to reduce the cost of production of hydrogen. “While storage of hydrogen remains a challenge, production of hydrogen fuel will be completely indigenous with India having enough solar production capacity as well as electrolysers,” he said.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharman had said in her Budget speech that the government proposes to launch a Hydrogen Energy Mission in 2021-22 for generating hydrogen from green power sources. The panel will review the status and explore complete feasibility of application, production, transportation, handling, use, safety aspects of hydrogen fuel, and suggest a clear roadmap.

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