- New analysis suggests grid-connected green hydrogen and ammonia can help India meet its growing energy demand and clean energy targets.
- Researchers from the University of Oxford, part of the University of Exeter-led EEIST project, employed advanced economic modeling techniques for clean energy transition pathways in emerging economies.
- Green hydrogen and ammonia could potentially constitute around 25% of India’s electricity demand by 2050, decarbonizing heavy industries like steel, shipping, fertilizers, and oil refining.
- Green hydrogen costs are estimated to decrease significantly, plummeting from $4-$5/kg today to under $1/kg by 2050.
Grid-connected green hydrogen and ammonia can help India meet its growing energy demand and clean energy targets, according to new analysis. The research, carried out by the University of Oxford, is part of the University of Exeter-led EEIST project.
Leading researchers are using pioneering economic modelling techniques to identify pathways for clean energy transitions in emerging economies.
Green hydrogen aids India’s clean energy
The researchers, in their new paper focused on India, find that green hydrogen, along with its product green ammonia, could potentially constitute approximately 25% of India’s electricity demand in 2050 by decarbonizing heavy industries like steel, shipping, fertilizers, and oil refining.
A grid-connected green hydrogen system will drastically reduce costs for consumers, according to the model’s prediction, with the price of green hydrogen expected to drop from $4-$5/kg today to under $1/kg in 2050.
Currently in India, concerns regarding the reliability of energy supply and high connection charges deter industrial energy customers from connecting to the grid. If this continues, it will lead to ‘islanded’ green hydrogen and ammonia facilities that are not connected to the grid.
Compared to the ‘island infrastructure’ option, a grid connection is better in terms of:
- Security of supply; reducing the needs for imported energy and the amount of investment needed.
- Affordability of electricity; reducing the need for high tariffs on industry energy users to pay for subsidies for residential and agricultural customers, giving industry a further boost.
- Improved storage can increase the use of renewables in the System resilience, as it enables the production and storage of energy to respond to changes in the weather.
Lead author Zac Cesaro, from the University of Oxford, told Ground Report, “This study’s surprising discoveries include the substantial scale of required electrolysis and ammonia capacity in India, as well as the potential advantages that could result if these plants link to the grid and function dynamically.”
“We may miss this opportunity unless policymakers intervene in the near term to guide us toward this future configuration.
Green hydrogen produced from renewables
Renewables produce green hydrogen and electrolyzing water uses entirely renewable energy to make it.
“When producers use 100% renewable and carbon-free methods to produce ammonia, they term it ‘green ammonia’, which can also store or produce energy.”
Anupama Sen, also from the University of Oxford told Ground Report that “Hydrogen can contribute to short-term grid balancing, and ammonia to long-term storage, helping to bring more solar and wind energy into the grid.
“By producing more green hydrogen and ammonia when there is lots of renewable energy and less when the supply is short, a grid-connected approach can take electricity from the grid flexibly” he added.
“By burning hydrogen or ammonia in gas turbines when needed, it can also bring electricity back into the grid on demand, although the usefulness of this seems limited.”
Advanced model considers multiple factors
This research was produced using a Complexity-Extended Energy System Model. These models are more advanced than traditional energy models because of their ability to represent the interaction between different industries, how technology develops over time, and their use of more precise weather data.
This kind of modelling can support governments around the world to make more detailed decisions about the transition to clean energy.
Research also published today by the EEIST project uses a similarly cutting-edge approach to explore the effect of China’s energy transition on jobs and taxes linked to the thermal coal industry.
Using asset-level data, the analysis finds that the transition away from coal could be net-positive for China’s public finances, even without accounting for climate change.
Also, under current policies, employment in the coal sector will continue to decline due to improving productivity.
Coal jobs will disappear even more rapidly under stronger energy and climate targets. A side event during New York Climate Week on ‘Advancing Net-Zero through Just Energy Transitions’ will launch both reports.
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