MNRE Releases Guidelines for Funding Green Hydrogen Testing Facilities

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued guidelines to implement the program on funding testing facilities, infrastructure, and institutional support to develop standards and a regulatory framework under the National Green Hydrogen Mission.

The program will be operational until 2026 with a total outlay of ₹2 billion (~$23.95 million).

The program’s objectives are to identify the gaps in the existing testing facilities for components, technologies, and processes in the green hydrogen value chain. It aims to create new testing facilities/infrastructure to test, validate, and certify components, technologies, and processes used in the green hydrogen value chain.

The program will upgrade existing testing facilities that are available from testing agencies. It aims to ensure the safe and secure operation of equipment/instruments used in the green hydrogen value chain.

The program will encourage participation from private and government entities to establish world-class testing facilities in India. It supports establishing centers of excellence tailored to diverse testing needs on a case-by-case basis.

Testing Facilities

Suitable testing facilities will be created to certify and validate technologies. Testing protocols will be regularly revised in collaboration with national and international research institutions to keep up with new technologies and applications.

The testing facilities will support testing and certification infrastructure projects, with the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) as the Program Implementation Agency (PIA).

The testing facilities’ key areas of focus include developing new infrastructure for components, technologies, and processes in the production, storage, transportation, and utilization of green hydrogen and its derivatives, upgrading existing facilities, conducting technology mapping, and disseminating information to support the overall testing and quality assurance ecosystem for green hydrogen in the country.

Implementation Methodology

The PIA will identify test facilities and issue a call for proposals in coordination with MNRE to solicit submissions for testing facility establishment. Proposals, including consortium or partnership-based initiatives, must designate a lead agency as the Executing Agency (EA). Eligible EAs encompass both government and private entities.

The Project Appraisal Committee (PAC) will evaluate proposals against calls for proposal criteria and recommend agencies to MNRE for sanctioning.

Funding and Disbursement

MNRE will provide funding for the testing facilities as follows: up to 100% of the capital cost for government entities and up to 70% for non-government entities, covering equipment, installation, and commissioning.

Additionally, as approved by the PAC, up to 15% of the total financial support can be used for operational expenses over four years post-project completion.

The grants will be disbursed in three installments: 20% upon selection, 70% based on milestones, and 10% upon project completion. Before each installment is released, MNRE may conduct project visits and verifications.

Funds will be released to PIA by MNRE based on PAC recommendations.

Timelines and Penalty

The released grant must be exclusively used for the allocated project and not diverted elsewhere. If the EA fails to utilize the grant as sanctioned, it must refund the entire amount with interest to MNRE.

Projects for new testing and certification facilities must be completed within 18 months from MNRE sanction, while upgrades to existing facilities must be completed within 12 months. The PIA may grant extensions of up to six months with adequate justification and steering committee approval without penalty.

Extensions beyond six months require approval from MNRE and may incur penalties specified by the PIA in the Call for Proposals. MNRE retains the right to retract, cancel, or short-close projects in consultation with the steering committee if there are unreasonable delays or non-compliance with the program’s objectives or provisions.

Monitoring

The monitoring framework includes oversight by a steering committee chaired by the MNRE Secretary. The committee will resolve any ambiguities in program provisions, with final decisions made by MNRE, and recommend solutions to any challenges.

Additionally, a PAC led by the Mission Director of National Green Hydrogen Mission and other MNRE-appointed members will evaluate project proposals, recommend projects for funding, and oversee fund allocation based on project progress. The PAC will finalize testing charges in consultation with the testing labs.

The PIA will establish its monitoring mechanism to track project progress, submitting quarterly reports to MNRE to monitor fund expenditure. The PIA will issue utilization certificates.

Project Completion

Upon completion of the project, the PIA must submit a Project Completion Report (PCR) to MNRE via the PAC within one month.

The PCR should encompass technical details such as hardware, software, and other utilized technologies and outline encountered technical challenges and their resolutions. It should also highlight the project’s outcomes, including generated technical knowledge and collected data. Recommendations for future projects based on lessons learned are also to be included.

Additionally, the PIA will issue guidelines for safeguarding intellectual property rights like publications, patents, registered designs, or trademarks from projects funded under this program. These guidelines may be incorporated into the call for proposals issued by the PIA.

Earlier this year, MNRE released an implementation framework to incentivize the annual production of 200,000 MT of green hydrogen.

In June last year, MNRE released a framework document outlining incentive programs for producing electrolyzers and green hydrogen, with a combined financial outlay of ₹174.9 billion (~$2.1 billion).


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