Q) For India to become energy independent by 2047, green hydrogen can be a game-changer. In this context, discuss the steps that can be taken by the government to develop India into a Green Hydrogen Economy (GHE).

Why this Question?

Important part of GS Paper-III.

Key demand of the Question 

Explain the benefits of green hydrogen and its usage and the steps that must be taken by the government to develop its usage. 


Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.


Start with a context of the question.


In the first part, explain the benefits of green hydrogen and its use.

In the next part, discuss the steps that can be taken by the government to promote this. 


Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

The Prime Minister of India recently announced a goal of reaching energy independence over the next 25 years. India imports 80% of the oil it needs. To end dependence on hydrocarbon imports, one could either substitute locally produced hydrocarbons for imported ones or displace hydrocarbons with other energy sources. The PM also announced a National Hydrogen Mission and envisaged the goal of India becoming the world’s largest exporter of green hydrogen in the years to come.

Green hydrogen gas is produced by splitting water (H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyzer that may be powered by electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

Benefits of Green Hydrogen

  1. Green hydrogen can be generated without any harmful emissions If renewable energy (e.g., from Solar panels) is used to generate electricity for electrolysis of water.
  2. It is a clean-burning molecule, which can decarbonize a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation. 
  3. To meet intermittencies (of renewable energy) in the future Green Hydrogen acts as an energy storage option. 
  4. Renewable energy that cannot be stored or used by the grid can be channeled to produce hydrogen. 
  5. Hydrogen is a clean energy source that only emits water vapour and leaves no residue in the air, unlike coal and oil.
  6. Green Hydrogen can be used for long distance mobilisation such as in railways, large ships, buses or trucks, etc.

Steps that can be taken by the Government

  1. Set a national target for green hydrogen and electrolyser capacity: A phased manufacturing programme should be used to build a vibrant hydrogen products export industry in India such as green steel (commercial hydrogen steel plant).
  2. Implement complementary solutions that create virtuous cycles: For example hydrogen infrastructure can be set up for refueling, heating and generating electricity at airports.
  3. Decentralised Production: Decentralised hydrogen production must be promoted through open access of renewable power to an electrolyser (which splits water to form H2 and O2 using electricity).
  4. Providing Finance: Policymakers must facilitate investments in early-stage piloting and the research and development needed to advance the technology for use in India. Public funding will have to lead the way, but the private sector, too, has significant gains to be made by securing its energy future.
  5. Boosting Domestic Manufacturing: India must learn from the experience of the National Solar Mission and focus on domestic manufacturing. Establishing an end-to-end electrolyser manufacturing facility would require measures like existing performance-linked incentive programmes. There is a need for a manufacturing strategy that can leverage the existing strengths and mitigate threats by integrating with the global value chain.
  6. Minimising Intermittency: There is a need for mechanisms to ensure access to round-the-clock renewable power for decentralised hydrogen production. To minimise intermittency associated with renewable energy, fuel cells can ensure continuous hydrogen supply.
  7. Augmenting Production: Improving the reliability of hydrogen supply by augmenting green hydrogen with conventionally produced hydrogen will significantly improve the economics of the fuel. Steps like blending green hydrogen in existing processes, especially the industrial sector, can help. This will also help build a technical understanding of the processes involved in handling hydrogen on a large scale.

As the threat of climate change becomes more real and urgent, promotion of Green Hydrogen technologies holds the real promise. Further, this could also be India’s opportunity to lead the world in a cutting-edge, growing space and generate employment in manufacturing, and R&D – in line with India’s AtmaNirbhar Bharat campaign.