One of India’s largest power companies has begun a pilot project to blend about 2.5% green hydrogen into the gas grid in the flood-prone city of Gorakhpur in northern India.

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Torrent Power describes the pilot — which is due to be completed in about eight months — as a “a significant step towards a greener future” that “allows for a gradual transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy mix”.

But independent studies have repeatedly shown that blending green hydrogen into the gas grid does little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while adding considerably to energy bills, and has therefore been described as “greenwash” that aims to extend the lifetime of fossil-gas networks.

Torrent Group owns the recently built gas grid in Gorakhpur, and is trying to install new connections to homes and businesses.

The city, in the state of Utter Pradesh, near the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, does get cold in the winter, but residents mainly use gas cylinders to cook food, rather than for heating.

Torrent says the green hydrogen for the project would be produced using an alkaline electrolyser powered by “renewable sources”, but offers no further details.

“Through this initiative, Torrent has taken the first step towards incorporating GH2 [green hydrogen] in its business operations and, coupled with its strong presence in RE [renewable energy], is looking to grow as a leading end to end GH2 solution provider to industrial & commercial players in India.

“In addition, export oriented green ammonia development is also being envisaged as a growth avenue for the company with active interests in multiple states.”

Torrent Power says it has an installed renewables capacity of about 1.07GW, with roughly 2.7GW of gas-fired electricity production.

According to Wikipedia, Gorakhpur — a city of more than a million people — suffers from extreme floods every three to four years.

“Roughly 20% of the population is affected by floods, which are an annual occurrence in some areas, causing huge loss of life, health, and livelihoods for the poor inhabitants, as well as damage to public and private property,” it says.