India approves hydrogen strategy; Blastr to invest 4 bln eur in steel plant

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A man takes a picture with a fuel cell electric vehicle of Ashok Leyland, unveiled at the Auto Show 2023 in India. (Source: Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis)

India has approved its National Green Hydrogen Mission with a goal to develop capacity of at least 5 million metric tons (MMT) a year with an associated energy capacity addition of about 125 GW by 2030, the Indian government said.

The incentive plan is worth some 197.4 billion rupees ($2.42 billion) though the government expects investments totaling 8 trillion rupees in the green hydrogen sector by 2030.

The incentive program aims to make green hydrogen affordable and bring down its production cost from current levels of 300-400 rupees a kilo, industry sources told Reuters.

Some 174.9 billion rupees is earmarked for the ‘Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition' (SIGHT) program, 14.7 billion rupees for pilot projects, and 4 billion rupees for research and development, the government said.

The program will create around 600,000 new jobs, lead to a cumulative reduction of fossil fuel imports worth over a trillion rupees, and offset some 50 MMT of annual greenhouse gas emissions, it said.

“The Mission will have wide ranging benefits – creation of export opportunities for green hydrogen and its derivatives; decarbonization of industrial, mobility and energy sectors; reduction in dependence on imported fossil fuels and feedstock; development of indigenous manufacturing capabilities; creation of employment opportunities; and development of cutting-edge technologies,” the government said in a statement.

Blastr to invest 4 bln eur in steel plant

Norwegian company Blastr Green Steel plans to invest some 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion) to establish a green steel plant with an integrated hydrogen production facility in Inkoo, Finland, the company said in statement.

Blastr has signed a letter of intent with Nordic energy company Fortum giving it exclusive rights to utilize the existing industrial site in the Finish municipality.

The investment will create up to 1,200 direct jobs during the operation phase and production is planned to start by the end of 2026, it said.

The plant is slated to produce two and a half million tons of high-quality hot- and cold-rolled green steel a year, the company said.

The demand for decarbonized steel is expected to reach 50 million tons in Europe by 2030, almost a third of current demand, the company said.

Global steel manufacturing is responsible for quarter of global industrial sector carbon dioxide emissions, according to the World Steel Association.

“Inkoo was selected as our location due to its high-quality infrastructure and access to clean power. In addition, the ice-free deep-sea harbor enables efficient, low-carbon logistics all year round and close access to the European market,” said CEO of Blastr Hans Fredrik Wittusen. 

Study sees EV cars, hydrogen trucks

A U.S. government inter-department study on decarbonizing transport released in January sees hydrogen playing a role in reducing emissions from long-haul heavy trucks, rail, and maritime, but limited use for light duty vehicles.

The study, ‘The U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization,” is a roadmap on how to implement a holistic strategy to achieve a future mobility system that is clean, safe, secure, accessible, affordable, and equitable, it said.

The study comes after the leaders of the departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in September 2022, to accelerate the nation’s clean transportation future.

The study saw no opportunity for hydrogen in light duty vehicles, which it said were responsible for 49% of current transportation emissions, focusing instead on electric vehicles, while it saw the greatest long-term opportunities for hydrogen in long-haul heavy trucks (around 7% of emissions) and large long-term opportunities for rail (2%) and maritime (4%).

Additional opportunities for hydrogen include in heavy industry, grid support, and feedstock for chemicals and fuels, the study said.

Research and development priorities were to bring down electrolyzer costs, fuel cell durability and cost, and a clean hydrogen infrastructure.

Ballard, Adani to develop hydrogen truck

Fuel cell company Ballard Power Systems, Indian multinational holding company Adani Enterprises Ltd. (AEL) and Indian automotive manufacturer Ashok Leyland have signed an agreement to launch a pilot project to develop a hydrogen fuel cell electric truck for mining logistics and transportation, the companies said in a statement.

AEL, which focuses on both mining operations and developing green hydrogen projects for sourcing, transporting, and building out hydrogen refueling infrastructure, will lead the demonstration project, while Ballard will supply the FCmove fuel cell engine.

Ashok Leyland, one of the largest bus manufacturers in the world, will provide the vehicle platform and technical support.

The truck, which will weigh 55 tons, will have three hydrogen tanks, a 200-kilometer working range, and be powered by Ballard’s 120 kW polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology, is scheduled to be launched in India sometime later this year.

The Adani Group has previously said it would invest over $50 billion over the next 10 years in green hydrogen and associated ecosystems with a capacity of up to 3 million tons of clean hydrogen a year.    

By Reuters Events Hydrogen