To strengthen its portfolio of clean energy offerings, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IndianOil) has announced that it will build India's first 'Green Hydrogen' plant at its Mathura Refinery in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. "IndianOil has drawn a strategic growth path to focus on its core refining and fuel marketing businesses while making bigger inroads into petrochemicals, hydrogen, and electric mobility over the next ten years", said Shrikant Madhav Vaidya Chairman of IndianOil.
IndianOil is India’s largest integrated and diversified energy company accounting for nearly half of India’s petroleum products market share, with sales of 78.54 million tonnes in the year 2019-20. With a combined refining capacity of 80.2 million tonnes per annum, the company has over 32 percent of the national refining capacity and 71 percent downstream sector pipelines throughput capacity are with IndianOil.
IndianOil has drawn a strategic growth path to focus on its core refining and fuel marketing businesses while making bigger inroads into petrochemicals, hydrogen, and electric mobility over the next ten years. IndianOil has a wind power project in Rajasthan. We intend to wheel that power to our Mathura refinery to produce absolutely green hydrogen through electrolysis. Mathura has been selected because of its proximity to TTZ (Taj Trapezium Zone). As we see it, the Green hydrogen will replace carbon-emitting fuels used in the refinery to process crude oil into value-added products such as petrol and diesel. Moreover, we have got several expansion plans down the line which are already approved. We will not have a captive power plant and will utilise power from the grid, preferably green power. This will help decarbonise some part of the manufacturing, Vaidya explained.
Green hydrogen is derived from water electrolysis using renewable energy like solar or wind. Biomass-based hydrogen production technologies also qualify under the green category. On the other hand, brown and grey hydrogen are produced through coal gasification and natural gas reforming, respectively. These production pathways generate a significant amount of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Integration with appropriate carbon capture and storage or utilisation (CCS/CCU) technologies results in blue hydrogen. While IndianOil has been working on various hydrogen production pathways, the current project at Mathura Refinery will be pioneering the introduction of green hydrogen in the Indian oil, and gas sector.
Petroleum refining and marketing with much higher petrochemicals integration will continue to be IndianOil’s key focus area. We are going to add 25 million tonnes of refining capacity by the year 2023-24. Forecasts by various agencies see Indian fuel demand climbing to 400-450 million tonnes by 2040 as against 250 million tonnes now. This demand surge offers enough legroom for all forms of energy to co-exist. And, while exploring the multiple energy avenues, environmental conscience will be a critical priority for IndianOil. We are pushing ahead with research on carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies, Vaidya said.
According to Vaidya, there is growing optimism in India about hydrogen as an emerging energy vertical.
There is a fresh momentum for scaling up hydrogen use across sectors globally. IndianOil R&D Centre has emerged as a pioneering institute undertaking cutting edge research in all facets of hydrogen, including production, storage and applications like fuel cells. Our HCNG experiment in Delhi, wherein we converted 50 CNG BS-IV buses to run on HCNG fuel, has revealed significant benefits in reducing exhaust emissions and improving the fuel economy. Also, with the support of the MoPNG (Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas), IndianOil is in the process of setting up ~1 tonne per day capacity pilot plants based on four innovative hydrogen production technologies, and we would also be operating 15 fuel cell buses in the Delhi NCR region along with Tata Motors. We recently shared a Statement of Intent (SoI) with the Norwegian company Greenstat to set up a Centre of Excellence on Hydrogen (CoE-H) in India to accelerate a gradual transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. We also intend to seed Hydrogen Mobility by commoditising the surplus quantities of hydrogen available at the Gujarat refinery with a hydrogen dispensing facility for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles. Initially, this facility will be refuelling 25 buses per day with a ramp-up capability to refuel 75 fuel cell buses per day. The project is expected to be operational soon, running the first set of buses from Gujarat Refinery to the Statue of Unity and other iconic sites in the vicinity ended Shrikant Madhav Vaidya.