'Green hydrogen at $2 a kg is possible'

M. Ramesh | | Updated on: Sep 02, 2021
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The hydrogen economy's core is bringing down the gas costs to make it an automotive and industrial fuel of choice.

The International Climate Summit, 2021 (ICS 2021), an initiative of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Invest India, which begins on Friday, will focus on ‘green hydrogen’. The theme is ‘Powering India’s Hydrogen Ecosystem’ to create self-reliance in India for the ‘fuel of the future’.

At the core of the (green) hydrogen economy is bringing down the gas costs to make it an automotive and industrial fuel of choice.

Dr Ashish Lele, Director, National Chemical Laboratories (NCL), Pune, one of the key participants of ICS 2021, believes that hydrogen for $2 a kg is possible. Today, it is around $6-7 a kg.

In a conversation with Business Line , Dr Lele observed that the electrolyzer technology was mature globally. Today, there are 359 green hydrogen projects globally , noting that all aspects of the hydrogen economy, viz., generation, storage, distribution and utilization, pose no technological challenge.

The only issue is the cost. Today’s electrolyzers, which split water into hydrogen and oxygen, cost about $250 to 300 a kW, having come down substantially over the years. However, with economies of scale there is a lot more scope for costs to come down.

The only other big cost in hydrogen generation is electricity, which accounts for 70 per cent of the running costs. Solar electricity is cheap today and if the by-product, oxygen, is valued then, the cost of hydrogen at $ 2 a kg can become a reality when large electrolysers become operational.

‘Hydrogen economy’ can indeed spawn an entirely new industry—for manufacturing electrolyzers, with attendant opportunities for medium and small enterprises, says Arne Ballantine, CEO of Ohmium, a US-based company building an electrolyzer factory in Bengaluru. The company intends to also export electrolyzers from India.

“This is the beginning of a very large industry,” Ballantine told Business Line recently.

Published on September 03, 2021

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