The prospects of Green Hydrogen: India Panama’s upcoming collaboration

The production of green hydrogen is achieved through the utilization of renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

green hydrogen
The own plans of India to achieve a hydrogen hub in the world captivated Panama's attention. (Representational image)

By Sanchita Borah,

One of the protagonists of the imminent energy transformation that the world’s economies are obligated to achieve towards the procurement of carbon neutrality and tackling climate change will be green hydrogen. The production of green hydrogen is achieved through the utilization of renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. When there is a requirement to turn it into energy, the storage of hydrogen in the specific tanks is then transmitted into fuel cells. There it unites again with oxygen from the air, and electricity is obtained. The by-product of this whole procedure is the only water that results in a clean, sustainable process. There is zero carbon dioxide emitted while producing this energy.

The time is appropriate to cling to the potentiality of green hydrogen, which is here to play a vital role in tackling the crucial challenges in the energy sector. Scrutinizing the beneficiary ramifications of green hydrogen, India and Panama have leveraged the utilization of this process as an alternative and produced sustainable energy.

India’s intense urge to achieve aspirational climate goals has driven the nation towards adopting missions in energy transmission. Leveraging green hydrogen as one of the catalysts for this mission, in 2022, the Union Cabinet of India adopted the National Green Hydrogen Mission, which visualizes India as a leading producer and supplier of green hydrogen in the world forum. Given the growing momentum in the global sphere over green hydrogen and the execution of the strategies for hydrogen by multiple countries, the forging of strategic partnerships in all areas of green hydrogen development becomes imperative for India.

The own plans of India to achieve a hydrogen hub in the world captivated Panama’s attention. Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, the Foreign Minister of Panama, who recently visited India, discussed India-Panama’s potential collaboration in their mission of green hydrogen development and other renewable technology. As a substitute fuel for shipping, the two nations are looking forward to working together in green hydrogen production, with the aim of Panama evolving as a nucleus of hydrogen and environment-friendly shipping. The commencement of this vision of Panama is fostered with India’s assistance. 

The National Secretariat of Energy of Panama launched the “Green Hydrogen Roadmap” in the global south. It pursues strengthening the green hydrogen and derivatives industry in Panama. The nation is working on a specific strategy that aims to become the node or hub of storage, commercialization, and transmission of the green hydrogen produced in the region of Latin America.

The Panama Canal is one of the world’s major shipping routes, through which 13,000 ships pass annually. This has become a critical factor in Panama’s aspirations towards leveraging green hydrogen production. The nation’s “Green Hydrogen Road Map” recognizes hydrogen as a future fuel and has aimed to establish Panama as a “Global Green Hydrogen Route.” Around 29 percent of the ships transiting through the Panama Canal are energized by diesel. Panama’s interest is to participate in the transition to green energy.

As an indication of deepening collaboration in the energy sector, India and Central American countries like Panama will be establishing joint working groups to ameliorate the energy partnership. The talks towards this partnership came after the Indian government’s approval of Rs. 19,744 crores for the annual production of five million metric tons of green hydrogen and bringing in investment worth Rs. 8 trillion by 2030. India also plans to run its ships on green energy by involving a hybrid energy model that will comprise a mixture of solar, wind, seawater, and hydrogen. This can initiate a radical change, as transportation through the maritime sector accounts for around 90 percent and 75 percent of trade by volume and value for India.

In their journey of discovering each other, India and Panama have initiated their collaboration in the future in various other sectors, incorporating pharmaceuticals, tourism, and women’s empowerment. India has recognized Panama’s geographic positions and logistic capabilities, which can make the nation a hub for Indian investors, according to the foreign minister of Panama. This international cooperation between India and Panama in the field of green hydrogen can become a potential game changer towards achieving climate goals and in the sphere of energy transmission.

The 21st century has become an array of fast-growing bilateral deals that indicate the different hydrocarbon-based energy relationships of the 20th century. In recent years, as many as 30 countries and regions have incorporated plans for export and import, thus indicating that the cross-border hydrogen trade is set to grow considerably. The countries that have not traditionally traded energy are manifesting bilateral relations that center around hydrogen-related technologies. As India and Panama initiate their cooperative effort in the green hydrogen sector, it is time to see how far the political dynamics of cooperation between nations can lead toward a greener future.

The author is Ph.D. Research Scholar at the Centre for Canadian, US & Latin American Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

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First published on: 15-05-2023 at 12:33 IST