Adani Group is looking to rival fellow Indian giant Reliance Industries in the nation’s renewables sector, announcing bold plans to increase its renewables capacity and enter green-hydrogen production.

Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani revealed the company plans to invest $20 billion over the next decade in renewable-energy generation and component manufacturing, while claiming his company would “be the producer of the least expensive green electron anywhere in the world”.

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The claim, which local media in India said was made at the JP Morgan India Investor Summit this week, would see Adani Group rival the size of investment by fellow billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, which unveiled a plan in June to invest $10.1 billion in clean energy.

Adani was quoted as saying Adani Group intends to triple its renewable-power generation capacity over the next four years, become a green-hydrogen producer, power all of its data centres by renewable energy by 2030, achieve net-zero emissions at its ports by 2025, and allocate more than 75% of capital expenditure up to 2025 on green technologies.

Earlier this year, Adani announced his company had already achieved its 2025 target to have 25 gigawatts of renewable-energy capacity developed or under construction in India.

“Today, we are already the world’s largest solar-power player when we account for our generating, under construction and contracted projects,” Adani was quoted as saying in local media.

“We have done this in just two years and our renewables portfolio has reached our initial target of 25 gigawatts a full four years ahead of schedule. This puts us well on track to be the world’s largest renewable-power generating company by 2030.”

Hydrogen ambition lacks details

While claiming Adani Group was on a path to become one of the largest green-hydrogen producers in the world, Adani did not elaborate on the company’s immediate hydrogen plans.

When announcing Reliance’s investment plan in June, Ambani said his company intended to use green hydrogen and carbon dioxide as raw materials to produce green chemicals, green fertilisers and e-fuels.

Green vs Blue

Blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas feedstocks, with the carbon dioxide by-product from hydrogen production captured and stored. However, the process is not emissions free.

Green hydrogen is made using electrolysis powered by renewable energy to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, creating an emissions-free fuel.

Earlier this month, Ambani claimed his company was aiming to bring down the cost of producing green hydrogen to under $2 per kilogram, while it has set a stretch goal of bringing that cost down to below $1 per kilogram within 10 years as it targets 100 GW of renewable generation capacity by 2030.

The European Commission's July 2020 hydrogen strategy placed the cost of green hydrogen at between $3 and $6.55 per kilogram.

Fossil-based hydrogen currently costs about $1.80 per kilogram, while the cost of blue hydrogen, which is produced using natural gas and carbon capture, is estimated to be about $2.40 per kilogram.