Spurred by Government Interventions, Green Hydrogen Gains Focus of the Indian Oil & Gas Giants
- Journalist: Jaideep Kumar
India’s National Hydrogen Energy Mission has sparked a different enthusiasm amidst the energy firms. In response to the government’s strong push to establish a Hydrogen economy, fuel companies such as Indian Oil, GAIL, HPCL and BPCL are exploring the feasibility of green Hydrogen production in India and accelerating swift transition to the environment-friendly fuel.
Country’s largest oil marketing company, Indian Oil has revealed its plan to set up two pilot projects for manufacturing green Hydrogen by partnering with renewable energy firms in FY22. The company is aiming to set up Hydrogen-producing facilities and utilize the produced Hydrogen to run buses on some selective routes like the one spanning Baroda refinery to the Statue of Unity in Gujarat and the route from Delhi to Agra. Indian Oil is currently the largest producer of Hydrogen fuel in the country which mostly utilizes Natural Gas and Naphtha for the fuel production. The Hydrogen thus produced is largely used by the company to reduce sulphur content in motor fuels at its refineries.
Other oil and gas players like GAIL have also shown interest towards green Hydrogen as the company is aiming to incorporate the fuel in its city gas distribution (CGD) network. State-owned BPCL and HPCL have recently rolled out a global tender for installation of Hydrogen Generation Unit (HGU) on Build–Own–Operate (B-O-O) basis near their refineries. Commenting on the development of these pilot projects, Dr SSV Ramakumar, director (R&D) at Indian Oil stated, “Investments in these pilots will depend on the size of the project and haven’t been firmed up yet.”
The Indian government is on full swing to incorporate the green fuel into India’s energy mix. There have been ongoing discussions with several ministries to increase the penetration of domestically produced green Hydrogen in industries such as fertilizers, steel and oil refineries, which have been heavily importing Natural Gas and Ammonia for Hydrogen production. India’s power and renewable energy minister R K Singh stated in an interview that the country will be conducting auctions for green hydrogen in the upcoming 3-4 months which is being viewed as a strategic move towards the green fuel.
Industry experts are anticipating that against more than 90 minutes taken by a heavy battery electric vehicle to charge, vehicles fitted with hydrogen fuel cells can be charged merely in 5-15 minutes. State-run power generator NTPC has recently signed an MoU with Siemens for the production of green Hydrogen at its renewable energy plants and promote its usage in mobility. NTPC is also designing a green Hydrogen synthesis model involving hard or sea water electrolysis and reactors for Hydrogen production through the photo-electro-chemical process.
As per ChemAnalyst,” India stands under the umbrella of 2015 Paris Agreement whose signatories are committed to ensuring net-zero emissions by 2050. To adhere to its timeline, the country needs to gear up towards other energy vectors and without switching to Green Hydrogen, it seems a tough assignment. The industry consensus reveals that for Green Hydrogen to become globally competitive, it must involve the production cost of around USD 2 per kg. India needs a proper government support system to address both green hydrogen supply and demand, and storage facilities to enable affordable delivering of Green Hydrogen.”