India is emerging as one of the world’s most important electrolyser manufacturing centres, with 8GW of factories due to come on line by 2025, according to analysis from Norwegian research house Rystad Energy.

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The 8GW figure is made up by total of nine companies across seven factory projects — three joint ventures and three solo investments — the biggest of which are 2GW factories built by Belgium’s John Cockerill in partnership with India’s Greenko, and Nevada-based Ohmium (see chart below).

The John Cockerill-Greenko factory would be a new facility manufacturing the former's high-pressure alkaline electrolysers, Rystad said, which likely forms part of the Belgian engineering firm’s announced 8GW worldwide electrolyser manufacturing push.

Ohmium’s plans come as part of the expansion of its existing 500MW plant in Bangalore, for which it recently secured $45m in private funding.

There are also four 1GW factories in the making by 2025, from Indian conglomerate Reliance, which has partnered with Danish engineering firm Stiesdal, India’s Larsen and Toubrou in partnership with Norwegian electrolyser manufacturer Hydrogen Pro, and Indian fuel-cell manufacturer H2e Power, which plans to make solid-oxide electrolysers at its gigafactory. H2e also plans a 200MW factory to make anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolysers.

Electrolyser manufacturing capacity in India. Photo: Rystad Energy

Finally, Adani, which is owned by India’s richest man, Gautam Adani, has already committed financing to a 1GW gigafactory, Rystad tells Recharge, the first step in its recently announced plan to produce three million tonnes of H2 by 2030, which the Norwegian analyst estimates would require 16GW of electrolyser capacity.

East-west partnerships

India’s pipeline of electrolyser factories almost puts it on a par with expected global capacity by the end of 2022 — about 7GW according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). And the 8GW would comprise a substantial portion of the 26GW of gigawatt-scale electrolyser factories publicly announced to date across the world.

Rystad’s analysis suggests that Indian companies are pushing hard to develop a local industry by tapping into Western financial heft and technical know-how, with all three joint ventures on the list being partnerships between an Indian firm and a Western company.

And Western engineering companies are likely to have an eye on a booming Indian green hydrogen and ammonia market, boosted by sky-high natural-gas prices.

In fact, BNEF noted in May that fossil-gas prices are now so high as to make Indian-produced green ammonia competitive with grey. This is no small matter, as India is the third-biggest producer of ammonia in the world, behind China and Russia.

As a result, there has been a significant uptick of green hydrogen and ammonia project announcements in the country in recent months, most significantly from Indian renewables player ACME, which intends to produce 2.3 million tonnes of green H2 and ammonia from its giant schemes in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

And the government is also getting a foot in, with state-owned power giant NTPC actively looking to partner with domestic and international electrolyser manufacturers for future green hydrogen tenders.