Thukten Zangpo

The Department of Hydropower and Power Systems (DHPS) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs is conducting a technical study on the viability of hydrogen as fuel in the country.

DHPS chief engineer Ugyen said that the technical study is in its initial stages and it would help prepare a green hydrogen roadmap.

Bhutan, he said, would adopt the most relevant hydrogen technology.

“Hydropower is our strength, and based on hydropower, we can generate hydrogen for self-consumption in the country,” Ugyen said, adding that the electrolysis method would be most suitable.

In the electrolysis method, the electrolysers use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. This technology is well developed and commercially available globally.

Ugyen said that Bhutan is exploring Fortescue Future Industries in Western Australia as a technology partner.

“With hydrogen fuel, we can replace fossil fuels for vehicles (hydrogen cars, trucks, and buses) and it would help to improve the country’s balance of payment,” Ugyen said.

However, because the technology is new, the cost of hydrogen fuel is currently high compared to that of fossil fuel.

According to the Bhutan Sustainable Hydropower Development Policy of Bhutan 2021, the government shall facilitate and create enabling eco-systems for innovations, investment, and development of a hydrogen economy for both domestic and foreign markets.

The government shall also add hydropower generation capacity to augment existing capacity, to facilitate the production of hydrogen fuel and other energy storage products.

A National Green Hydrogen Panel would be established consisting of relevant experts to provide technical, advisory, and facilitate the promotion and development of green hydrogen fuel and other emerging technologies.