Distributive policy

Deepesh Nanda, CEO, GE Gas Power South Asia, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

New Delhi: In an exclusive interaction with SUMMEREnergyWorld, Deepesh Nanda, CEO of GE Gas Power South Asia, talks with us about recent developments in green hydrogen, his company’s plans for it, how to scale up production in India and more. Edited excerpts:

What do you think of the green hydrogen policy announced recently?

The announcement of a National Green Hydrogen Policy for India is encouraging. This is another step in the country’s efforts to become carbon neutral and encourage clean energy production. The new policy has correctly adopted a panoramic perspective to facilitate the manufacture, transport, storage and distribution of green hydrogen. The government’s target of producing five million tons of green hydrogen by 2030 will require rich investments that can be enabled by the Single Portal Project Authorization that comes with a 30-day time limit. This policy is a step in the right direction to support and promote the green hydrogen ecosystem. Nevertheless, we need more interventions to support this political decision with proper implementation on the ground.

What were your expectations? What more should be done in its second phase?

The second phase of the policy is expected to mandate the use of green hydrogen and green ammonia by plants in a phased manner. Additionally, the government expects it to witness the creation of demand for green hydrogen and enable a national value chain that will see the full utilization of green hydrogen. In addition, the cost of gray hydrogen, which is used in large quantities in oil refineries, fertilizer plants, etc., produced from natural gas is almost a quarter of the cost of green hydrogen. Here is an opportunity to introduce incentives that can support the subsequent transition from the use of gray hydrogen to green hydrogen in the long term. The second phase should address concerns around pricing, demand creation and building a strong domestic value chain. Eventually, we will also have to establish the roadmap to become a chosen export destination.

What are your projects around green hydrogen in the short and long term?

Utility interest in hydrogen has skyrocketed and may soon begin to appear in long-term integrated resource plans. Hydrogen is becoming the fuel of choice, especially for large companies and countries with strong emission reduction targets. We are prioritizing investments in technology to cost-effectively scale renewables and transition to net-zero gas power generation through advances in hydrogen and carbon capture technologies.

Our gas turbine portfolio offers a unique perspective on how to use hydrogen as a fuel, while ensuring safe and reliable operations. Our experience with hydrogen and other fuels includes over 100 turbines in operation and over eight million hours on these fuels. The company continues to advance the ability of its gas turbine fleet to burn hydrogen through internally funded R&D programs and external, public or private programs.

What are your investment goals for this?

We see low-carbon gas as a “destination technology” with the potential to convert power plants to run on 100% clean hydrogen.

Our investments have largely been focused on developing the most precise technology, as evidenced by our advanced premixed combustors to power gas turbines, power plant cores, and generate more electricity from of hydrogen. Our latest gas turbine has the capability to burn up to 50% hydrogen by volume mixed with natural gas with a 100% technology path. The net efficiency level of a power plant powered by this turbine in combined cycle mode is over 64%, meaning it can convert 64% of a drop of fuel into electricity. By comparison, the engine of an average car only achieves 40% efficiency.

Now, with a more supportive political structure, we expect increased demand for green hydrogen and the technologies that support its production and use. To further increase hydrogen production, we need several low-carbon hydrogen sources to add to the mix, including so-called “blue hydrogen” where emissions can be captured and stored. .

Why is green hydrogen more complicated to harvest than other fuel sources?

A tricky aspect of producing green hydrogen is that you tend to use more electricity to produce hydrogen by electrolysis than you produce from the combined cycle gas plant. For this to make sense, there should ideally be a surplus of renewable energy (RE) that can be dedicated to hydrogen production. Otherwise, it is more efficient to simply use electricity directly from renewables. However, when the goal is to store excess renewable energy for long periods, hydrogen could be sent to compensate for lean times.

Additionally, hydrogen is difficult to store due to its extremely low volumetric density. It is the simplest, lightest and most abundant element in the universe; but it is also extremely flammable. All these qualities combine to make its logistics and transport quite complicated.

What technological advances are needed to source green hydrogen at scale in India?

Hydrogen does not exist on earth as a standalone molecule – it likes to bond with others. Therefore, to produce pure hydrogen, we must intentionally separate it from its pair, usually as water or methane. Today, the production of hydrogen from the electrolysis of water is developing all over the world. We need to ensure stable, round-the-clock availability of clean energy that can boost the continued production of green hydrogen. To do this, we must diversify our renewable energy sources, encourage the use of natural gas to provide the baseload power needed for crippled renewables, and balance grid stability, which will ultimately accelerate the transition to the use of renewables. green hydrogen.

Tell us how the gas sector can serve as a bridge to a renewable future.

It is important to introduce interventions at the policy level that can encourage the use of technologies that are environmentally and systematically sustainable based on attributes such as ramp rates, emission reductions, emissions, efficiency, etc To ensure a successful energy transition, wind and solar need the right partner for gas power. Gas power is flexible, offers fast start-up, deeper retardation levels and faster ramp rates which are key factors for bringing more renewables into the national grid.

Power generation based on gas turbine technology can balance the grid and provide electricity at competitive prices both in stand-alone generation and when bundled with renewables. India has underutilized gas infrastructure and can be leveraged to increase the share of natural gas to 15% in the energy mix, while accelerating the growth of renewables at the same time.

Additionally, a combination of hydrogen and natural gas can be a potential pathway to decarbonize India’s energy mix in the long term and provide a cleaner, more reliable and sustainable power supply.