In India, the impact of climate change is evident and anticipated to worsen, with over 75 percent of Indian districts facing extreme climate events. The estimated losses due to climate-induced disasters over the past two decades have already reached nearly $200 billion. To combat the worst consequences of climate change, it’s crucial to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Presently, the Earth is already 1.1°C warmer than the late 1800s, and emissions continue to rise. Achieving the 1.5°C target requires a reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions by nearly half by 2030 and eventually reaching net-zero emissions. This is the journey to decarbonization.
India, as a developing nation, faces the challenge of setting emissions targets that balance global commitments with national priorities. The journey to a net-zero world requires global integration of sustainable solutions and smart technologies to address climate change effectively.
Net Zero Pledge – Towards a Sustainable Future
India, despite having low per capita CO2 emissions, is the third-largest emitter globally. The majority of emissions originate from sectors like power, steel, automotive, aviation, cement, and agriculture. At COP27, India committed to reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Additionally, India aims to fulfil 50 percent of its electricity needs with non-fossil fuel energy resources by 2030. At COP26, India made ambitious commitments to decarbonize energy, aiming for 50% decarbonization and 500 GW of fossil fuel-free generating capacity by 2030, with a net-zero emissions target by 2070.
Powering a Safer Future with Energy Storage Technologies
The energy sector contributes to a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions and offers key solutions for global climate challenges. Transitioning from coal, gas, and oil-based power to renewable energy sources is essential for reducing CO2 emissions. India has made substantial progress in renewable energy and stands fourth globally in renewable capacity. Advanced Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS), particularly those utilizing safe lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery technology, enable efficient consumption of clean energy. Energy Control Systems (EECS) further optimize energy storage and management.
Achieving Net Zero with Carbon Capture Technologies
Minimizing CO2 emissions from hard-to-abate industries, such as power plants and steel mills, is essential to achieve carbon neutrality by 2070. Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) technology captures CO2 emissions from industrial sites and either reuses or stores them underground. Advanced Solvent Carbon Capture (ASCC) technology effectively captures low-concentration and low-pressure CO2 emissions from various sources, benefiting natural gas power and hard-to-decarbonize industries like steel and cement manufacturing.
Fuelling the Future with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
Replacing fossil fuels with biofuels is a transformational strategy for decarbonizing the aviation industry. Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) offers a promising carbon-reduction solution. It has higher energy density and less fuel consumption compared to petroleum-based fuels. Ethanol-to-jet fuel (ETJ) processing technology allows the conversion of ethanol into SAF, significantly reducing GHG emissions compared to petroleum-based jet fuels.
Hydrogen – The Next Frontier
India has the potential to become a global leader in renewable batteries and green hydrogen. Hydrogen, derived from renewable sources, holds promise as a cleaner energy alternative for various applications. With the National Green Hydrogen Mission’s approval, India aims to become a hub for green hydrogen production and exports. Green hydrogen is expected to play a crucial role in achieving net-zero goals. Blue hydrogen, produced using natural gas or coal gasification with carbon capture and storage, is also gaining prominence.
India’s transition to clean energy and decarbonization represents a significant economic opportunity. In fact, in the latest development, IIT Madras has teamed up with IndusDC, a venture studio, to reduce carbon emissions. They will launch startups working towards decarbonization. Innovations in hydrogen, carbon capture, renewable energy, sustainable aviation fuel, and biofuels are vital to achieving decarbonization goals. Thoughtful actions, policy enhancements, and strategic planning are essential to unlock the full economic potential of India’s decarbonization journey. India must prepare for a strategic transition towards a decarbonized future, emphasizing long-term benefits for the nation and the world.