India will compel oil refineries and fertiliser plants to use green hydrogen as the first stage of plans to secure a world-leading market scale for the key energy transition fuel.

The two sectors will be the first to face mandatory shares of renewable H2 in their hydrogen consumption under draft plans sent for cabinet approval by power and renewable energy minister RK Singh.

Other energy-intensive sectors such as steelmaking and transport could be subject to the green H2 mandate later, creating a potentially vast market for the fuel in the fast-growing Asian economic powerhouse.

“By our estimates India can be one of the largest producers of green hydrogen in the world,” Singh told the Times of India.

The draft policy will compel oil refiners to have at least 10% green H2 in their overall hydrogen consumption from 2023/24, rising to 25% by the end of the decade, it was reported. The fertiliser sector faces a 5% and then 20% target.

Both industries rely heavily on grey hydrogen produced using unabated fossil fuels, which the Indian government admitted is currently far cheaper to produce at commercial scale.

The green share mandate forms part of a wider national hydrogen strategy that Singh and his officials are currently consulting over with ministerial colleagues.

India is pursuing some of the world’s most ambitious renewable energy targets of 175GW by the end of next year and 450GW by the end of the decade.

The last year has seen some of the largest Indian and global energy groups and industrial conglomerates unveil ambitious plans in renewables and hydrogen, as they joined the smaller independent players that drove initial growth in India’s green energy sector.

India’s largest power utility NTPC earlier this year said it aims to power green hydrogen production from a solar complex of almost 5GW that it plans to build in the state of Gujarat.