NEW DELHI, May 26: Union minister Nitin Gadkari said the transport sector contributes to 40 per cent of the air pollution in the country, and exhorted the industry to develop greener fuel alternatives to reduce the problem. Speaking at the GH2 summit here, Gadkari said 90 per cent of this contribution comes from the road transport sector, the portfolio he handles.
“We (transport) are responsible for 40 per cent of air pollution in the country…as the transport minister, actually I am responsible for that,” Gadkari said, citing the case of New Delhi which is grappling with air pollution woes. “In the transport sector, there is a need for alternate fuels,” the minister said, adding that the cost of green hydrogen needs to come down to USD 1 per kg (Rs 83 at current exchange prices) from the present cost of Rs 300 per kg.
He said solutions can also be found beyond the tested route of electrolysers, and pointed out to research done by IISc Bengaluru, where they have succeeded to get the cost per kg to Rs 150 using biomass.
Proven technology, economic viability, marketability of the finished product and import substitution are “important strategies we need to follow” in this journey, Gadkari said. Stressing on the importance of bio-fuels, Gadkari said “we need a diversification in agriculture” where focus is given on energy and power sectors.
This is the need of the country given the need to curb pollution, and also the stress being faced given that agriculture contributes only 12 per cent to economic growth while supporting 65 per cent of the population, he added. Stating that poverty is a “big problem” which cannot be ignored by the world's fastest growing major economy, Gadkari said technology can help bridge the gap by bringing out the best alternatives. He said while there is a lot of focus on solar energy and ambitious targets to increase its contribution in the overall energy mix, the country also needs wind, geothermal and even nuclear to power the economy's requirement.
Stating that there are 135 projects on alternative fuels going on in the country, Gadkari told the industry that there will be high demand for cars going forward as well, promising that the technologies they develop will have takers.
India has overtaken Japan to be the third largest auto manufacturer in the world, Gadkari said, declaring that he aims to make India the biggest in the world in three years with a Rs 15 lakh-crore industry.