India plans hydrogen auction under the National Hydrogen Energy Mission

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An electric car manufactured by India's Mahindra Group.

After the announcement to introduce a “National Hydrogen Energy Mission” in her budget speech, the government has started preparations for holding auctions for green hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources.

Union power minister RK Singh said that the government is planning to call for green hydrogen bids in about 4 to 5 months. The minister added that talks are on with other ministries to increase the penetration of domestic green hydrogen in industries such as fertilizer, steel and oil refineries, which otherwise import natural gas and ammonia to produce hydrogen. There are also discussions to put a mandate on using around 10 per cent of domestic green hydrogen in such industries.

“Once we start with this in three years, green hydrogen will become competitive,” Singh added. The minister was speaking at the launch of the “Go Electric” campaign to spread awareness on the benefits of electric vehicles and electric cooking in the country, which is seen to reduce import dependency by replacing oil and gas with domestic fuel-based energy.

Speaking at the same event, Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari proposed that the government can provide subsidies for buying electric cooking equipment instead of cooking gas to cut fuel imports.

Hydrogen technology is being encouraged by the government to reduce dependence on imported fuel. According to experts, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can be charged in 5-15 minutes, against the 90 minutes plus it takes a heavy battery electric vehicle to charge,

State-run power generator NTPC has already signed an MoU with Siemens for production of green hydrogen from the company’s renewable energy plants and its use in transportation. It has also planned pilot projects to run five hydrogen-cell electric buses and five cars in Delhi and Leh. In its laboratories, NTPC is designing a prototype for hard/sea water electrolysis and reactors for hydrogen production through the photo-electro-chemical process.

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