India's Green Hydrogen Drive: Advancing Sustainable Transport

Image depicting India's achievement of 30.8 Kilo Tonne Green Hydrogen Production Capacity, symbolizing the nation's progress in sustainable transportation under the initiative
India's Green Hydrogen Drive: Advancing Sustainable Transport

The Indian Government recently unveiled a groundbreaking scheme worth Rs. 496 crore, extending until 2025-26, aimed at piloting projects to assess the feasibility of green hydrogen as a fuel for automobiles and heavy vehicles. Administered under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), this initiative seeks to validate the technical viability, economic feasibility, and safe operational practices associated with hydrogen-powered vehicles and refueling infrastructure.

Objectives of the MNRE Scheme:

The primary objectives of the MNRE scheme encompass:

  1. Validation of the technical feasibility and performance of green hydrogen as a transportation fuel.
  2. Evaluation of the economic viability of green hydrogen-powered vehicles.
  3. Demonstration of safe operation protocols for hydrogen-powered vehicles and refueling stations.

Indian Industry Endeavors:

Leading Indian commercial vehicle manufacturers such as Tata Motors, Volvo Eicher, and Ashok Leyland are intensifying their research and development endeavors and expanding manufacturing capacities to develop hydrogen-powered trucks and buses. Concurrently, Indian energy conglomerates are engaged in upscaling green hydrogen production and reducing associated costs to enhance competitiveness vis-à-vis conventional fuels.

Benefits for India:

The widespread adoption of green hydrogen as a vehicular fuel holds significant promise for India, offering potential advantages such as:

  1. Mitigation of emissions to combat global warming and achieve climate objectives.
  2. Reduction of pollution levels, aligning with environmental goals.
  3. Diminishment of expensive fossil fuel imports, bolstering economic resilience.
  4. Establishment of India as a global leader in green hydrogen production and exportation.

Types of Hydrogen:

Hydrogen is categorized into three main types based on production methods and environmental impact:

  1. Grey Hydrogen: Produced from natural gas through energy-intensive processes, characterized by high carbon emissions.
  2. Blue Hydrogen: Derived from fossil fuels, with carbon byproducts captured and stored, presenting an improvement over grey hydrogen.
  3. Green Hydrogen: Generated using renewable electricity from sources like wind or solar to electrolyze water, offering a sustainable end-to-end fuel solution with water vapor as the sole emission.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles:

Hydrogen finds application in vehicles through two primary technologies:

  1. Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Vehicles: Employ hydrogen for combustion akin to traditional diesel or petrol cars, albeit without carbon emissions.
  2. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs): Convert stored hydrogen into electricity via fuel cells, producing only water as a byproduct. FCEVs, typically lighter than battery electric vehicles, offer enhanced efficiency due to the lower weight of fuel cells compared to EV batteries.


Notwithstanding the potential of green hydrogen, several challenges demand attention:

  1. High production costs impede widespread adoption.
  2. Storage and transportation logistics pose significant hurdles.
  3. Inadequate infrastructure for refueling stations presents a bottleneck.
  4. Specialized high-pressure storage cylinders are requisite.
  5. Safety concerns arise due to hydrogen’s flammability.
  6. Competition from evolving battery technologies for electric vehicles adds complexity to the landscape

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