Varanasi pilot location for deployment of green hydrogen fuel cell inland vessels on NW-I

Source : PTI | New Delhi, Varanasi has been selected as the pilot location for deployment of green hydrogen fuel cell inland vessels on National Waterways-I, aligning with the government’s Harit Nauka guidelines, an official statement said on Friday. Discussions are ongoing with potential players for facilities like bunkering, it added.

It was also informed that due to its low emission qualities, methanol is also actively considered one of the key green fuels for EXIM Vessels globally, as seen in the recent case of Maersk’s deployment of methanol-powered ships, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) said in the statement.

Going forward, the statement said, it was suggested to explore mechanisms of developing indigenous development of methanol marine engines in the country as a progressive step towards the green transition of inland vessels.

The MoPSW, along with Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) and Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), on April 23-24 organised a two-day conference in Kochi on ‘Challenges and Prospective Solutions in Inland Waterways and Shipbuilding’, bringing together various state departments, industry experts and stakeholders to delve into pressing issues within the maritime sector.

The session also delved into the pressing financing needs of India’s shipping sector, underscoring the mammoth investment requirement of approximately INR 70-75 lakh crore as outlined in the Maritime Amrit Kaal Vision 2047.

As per the statement, the ministry is actively working on establishing a dedicated Maritime Development Fund, akin to established sectoral financial institutions, such as Power Finance Corp Ltd, REC, IRFC, etc.

“This fund aims to cater to the unique and substantial funding requirements of the maritime sector, enabling the implementation of specific initiatives, such as shipbuilding, decarbonisation, green energy adoption, technology innovation, and manpower training and development,” it added.

The statement also said discussions underscored the nation’s heavy reliance on foreign fleets for cargo movement, resulting in significant foreign exchange expenditure.