India's dreams of transitioning to green hydrogen as a major energy resource may kickstart in 2024 as the government will soon finalise the first batch of companies that will make electrolysers and green hydrogen under the National Green Hydrogen Mission, which aims to create a capacity of 5 metric million tonnes per annum (MMTPA) by 2030.

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), the nodal agency for implementing the mission, has come out with a list of bidders in electrolyser manufacturing (EM) on December 15, 2023, under the Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) Scheme (Tranche-I). After the Envelop-1 bid opening, 21 manufacturers are participating to set up nearly 3400 megawatt (MW) capacity under two schemes. These include John Cockerill Greenko Hydrogen Solutions, Adani New Industries, Reliance Electrolyser Manufacturing, L&T Electrolysers, Jindal India, Avaada Electrolyser, Waaree Energies etc. which are setting up 300 MW each. Adani New Industries has suggested 300 each capacity under two buckets of the SIGHT scheme. Companies like Adar Poonawalla-backed HomiHydrogen, ACME Cleantech Solutions, Ohmium Operations, Hild Electric, Advait Infratech, Oriana Power, Matrix Gas and Renewables and HHP Seven are planning to go for 100 MW each capacity electrolyser manufacturing.

Since announcing the Green Hydrogen Mission, all these companies have been trying to rope in technology partners and forming joint ventures or subsidiaries to gear up for electrolyser manufacturing in India.

In the case of green hydrogen producers setting up production facilities for green hydrogen in India under the SIGHT Scheme (Mode-1-Tranche-I), after the Envelope-1 bid opening, 14 manufacturers have suggested to set up 5,51,730 MT of capacity, besides 2000 MT from Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. The largest projects suggested in the bidding are 90,000 MT each capacity from Reliance Green Hydrogen and Green Chemicals Limited, Avaada GreenH2, Greenko ZeroC and ACME Cleantech Solutions.

Other major bidders include HHP Two (75,130), Welspun New Energy (20,000), JSW Neo Energy (10,000), CESC Projects Limited (10,500), Sembcorp Green Hydrogen India (36,000), Aneeka Universal (2000), GH4 India (10,000), UPL Limited (10,100) and Torrent Power (10,100).

The National Green Hydrogen Mission, approved by the Union Cabinet in January 2023, has an outlay of ₹19,744 crore, including ₹17,490 crore for the SIGHT programme, ₹1,466 crore for pilot projects, ₹400 crore for R&D and ₹388 crore towards other mission components. Broad objectives of the mission are to develop green hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonne) per annum with an associated renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 gigawatts (GW) in the country by attracting over ₹8 lakh crore in total investments, creation of over six lakh jobs, cumulative reduction in fossil fuel imports by over ₹1 lakh crore and abatement of nearly 50 MMT of annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Industry sources say at least 200 MW of green hydrogen projects, mostly pilots, are under construction and a majority of those will come on stream within the next 1-2 years. The Government has also outlined ₹455 crore up to 2029-30 for pilot projects in low carbon steel projects, ₹496 crore up to 2025-26 for mobility pilot projects and ₹115 crore up to 2025-26 for shipping pilot projects.

Apart from these, PSU oil refiners and companies are also planning a big hydrogen foray. PSU oil refiners plan to produce 30.8 kilo tonnes of green hydrogen a year by 2030. At Vadodara in Gujarat, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has started India’s first commercial-scale hydrogen storage and fuelling station. IOC is building a seven kilo tonnes green hydrogen facility at Panipat in Haryana, which is scheduled to take off by 2025-26. Bharat Petroleum Corporation is setting up a 20 MW electrolyser plant and plans to produce 10 kilotonnes green hydrogen per annum by 2030. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation is setting up a green hydrogen plant at Vizag refinery with 7.3 kilo tonnes capacity by 2025. By 2024, Mangalore Refinery And Petrochemicals’ 0.5 kilo tonne pilot is planned to go onstream while Numaligarh Refinery’s five kilo tonnes plant in Assam will take off by 2030. Chennai Petroleum Corporation’s one-kilo tonne plant will take off by 2026-27.

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