18th Jan 2024: Shedding light on the evolving dynamics of India’s energy sector, Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, President of IIT Madras Research Park, IITM Incubation Cell & RTBI, in his interview with ET Energyworld, emphasized the significant roles of green hydrogen and the latest advancements in solar energy technology. He outlined their critical contributions to shaping the future of India’s energy landscape.

Jhunjhunwala projected a significant reduction in green hydrogen costs to approximately $1.50/kg by 2025, a crucial step towards its economic viability for decarbonizing key industries like steel, cement, ammonia, and aluminum. “We need green hydrogen at the right price for the economics to work well,” he stated, acknowledging the challenges and efforts required to reach this goal. While he recognized the potential of green hydrogen in manufacturing, he expressed reservations about its immediate feasibility for transportation, citing the growing trend towards battery storage.

On the technological front, Jhunjhunwala highlighted ongoing advancements in electrolyser technology as pivotal for making green hydrogen production more efficient and cost-effective. He mentioned the contributions of companies like Ohmium, working on PEM electrolysers, and EH Group’s focus on fuel cells. The upcoming Envision 2023 conference is set to feature presentations from CSIR labs showcasing key electrolyser technologies being developed in India, reflecting a vibrant research environment.

Discussing green ammonia, Jhunjhunwala noted its importance as a base for fertilizers and its potential as a storage and transport medium for green hydrogen. However, he emphasized the necessity for further exploration to fully assess its capabilities and address the accompanying technological and infrastructural challenges.

Addressing the integration of renewable energy sources into the national grid, Jhunjhunwala stressed the importance of developing technologies for efficient electricity transmission and distribution. He highlighted IIT Madras Research Park’s focus on scouting for and deploying large-scale energy storage solutions to ensure grid stability and reliability.

In the realm of nuclear power, Jhunjhunwala discussed the potential role of Micro Modular Nuclear plants in complementing India’s energy mix and meeting growing energy demands.

To conclude, Jhunjhunwala focused on the importance of higher education and skill development in preparing a workforce for the renewable energy sector, highlighting initiatives like SkillVeri for training in solar panel installation and maintenance. This comprehensive approach, blending cutting-edge scientific research with practical skill building, forms the cornerstone of India’s pathway to a sustainable energy future.

Publication: ET Energy World

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