India’s first Waste-to-Hydrogen Project

Prelims level : Economy Mains level : GS-III Economy - Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways Etc.
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Why in News?

  • India assumed the Presidency of the Group of 20 this December. The world’s third largest emitter is moving beyond a transition strategy based squarely on solar development by branching out into emerging fields such as hydrogen.

Present Energy status and future Predictions

  • Only country to keep promise: India is one of the few countries that has kept to its Paris Agreement (21st Conference of Parties or COP21 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) commitments, with an exponential increase in renewable energy capacity.
  • Energy through renewables: It is anticipated that by 2050, 80-85 per cent of India’s overall power capacity will come from renewables by achieving the nationally determined contributions commitments.
  • Reducing the fossil fuel: India had committed to increasing the share of non-fossil fuels to 40 per cent of the total electricity generation capacity by 2030.

Potential of hydrogen energy:

  • 6 million tonnes hydrogen: India consumes about six million tonnes of hydrogen annually to produce ammonia and methanol in industrial sectors, including fertilisers and refineries.
  • Rising demand of hydrogen: This could increase to 28 million tonnes by 2050, principally due to the rising demand from the industry.

Efforts to promote Green Hydrogen:

  • Search for technology to generate: Ever since the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) shared that it is time for green hydrogen, private players have been looking for new technologies to generate it.
  • Electrolyser is inefficient: With the challenges of electrolyser capacity for generating green hydrogen globally, finding alternatives to foster green hydrogen in the country is essential.
  • Incentives from central government: The central government, the prime facilitator of such projects, has been coming up with new initiatives, policies and schemes to unleash the potential of green hydrogen generation and boost its demand.
  • Rational utilization of resources: The long-term low-emission development strategy of the country submitted to UNFCCC at COP27 focused on the rational utilisation of national resources for energy security in a just, smooth and sustainable manner.

Idea proposed by Pune Municipal Commission

  • Partnership with private player: PMC has partnered with business management consultant The Green Billions (TGBL) to manage its waste and generate it into useable green hydrogen. TGBL’s special purpose vehicle or subsidiary, Variate Pune Waste to Energy Private Ltd, will be undertaking the work.
  • Waste management: The new facility for generating hydrogen from waste will solve major problems of Inefficient waste management and carbon emissions. Waste management is one of the prime issues in the country, which is blamed for generating pollution in the surroundings.
  • Reducing carbon emissions: Pune, the second largest city in Maharashtra, hosts many industries, including steel, fertilisers and pharmaceutical industries. The emissions in the city increased by 12 per cent to 1.64-tonne carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2Eq) per capita in 2017 from 1.46 tonne tCO2Eq per capita in 2012.

How Hydrogen will be generated?

  • Hydrogen generation for 30 years: Variate Pune Waste to Energy Private Ltd will be managing and utilising the municipal waste of 350 tonnes per day (TPD) for generating hydrogen for 30 years. This waste will comprise biodegradable, non-biodegradable and domestic hazardous waste.
  • Plasma gasification technology: The Refuse-Derived Fuel (RDF) from the waste would later be utilised to generate hydrogen using plasma gasification technology. The technology has been developed while closely working with the Bhabha Atomic Research Institute (BARC) and the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
  • 9MT Tonnes of H2: It is estimated that 150TPD RDF and 9MT tonnes of H2 would be generated out of 350 TPD waste.
  • Decarbonising the city: The hydrogen generated at the facility will be utilised locally to help the city lower its emissions. As the Centre is focusing on industrial decarbonisation and facing the challenges of just transition, the project can prove to be a game-changer in helping industries reduce carbon emissions.


  • In India, where the hydrogen industry is nascent, it is imperative to keep the cost of hydrogen competitive to expand its usage in various sectors. TGBL will work on the same by making hydrogen affordable and easier to switch in the just-transition.
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