IOC, India’s largest oil company, will construct the country’s first ‘green hydrogen’ plant at its Mathura refinery in order to meet the growing need for both oil and cleaner forms of energy in the future.
The business will not build captive power plants at any of its future refinery and petrochemical expansion projects, instead relying on the 250 MW of electricity it generates from renewable sources like solar power.
This will be the first green hydrogen unit in the country. Previously, plans to manufacture ‘grey hydrogen’ from fossil fuels like natural gas were announced.
To meet the energy requirements, he said, all of the growth projects will use grid electricity, ideally green power.
IOC’s refinery expansion plans include increasing the capacity of operations in Haryana and Bihar, as well as establishing a new unit near Chennai.
IOC is pressing ahead with research on carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies, and is looking for worldwide collaboration to accomplish its Paris climate targets.
On a trial basis, IOC intends to build up multiple hydrogen production plants. This includes a project at a Gujarat refinery to create finite grade hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cell buses with a purity of 99.9999 percent.
IOC’s core activities will remain petroleum refining and marketing, with a significantly stronger petrochemicals integration.
Furthermore, petroleum will play a larger role, and the company will have a foothold in the electric mobility industry via charging stations at gas stations and a proposed battery manufacturing facility.
Various agencies predict that Indian fuel demand will rise to 400-450 million tonnes by 2040, up from 250 million tonnes presently.
This allows all sources of energy to coexist, he said, adding that rising demand necessitates expanding refining capacity as well as expanding footprints in compressed natural gas, LNG, biodiesel, and ethanol.
The company has already erected 286 charging stations across the country, including exchanging stations, and plans to expand to 3,000 EV charging stations in the coming years.
“Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has drawn a strategic growth path that aims to maintain focus on its core refining and fuel marketing businesses while making bigger inroads into petrochemicals, hydrogen and electric mobility over the next 10 years,” chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya said.
“We have a wind power project in Rajasthan. We intend to wheel that power to our Mathura refinery and use that electricity to produce absolutely green hydrogen through electrolysis,” he said.
“Mathura has been selected by virtue of its proximity to TTZ (Taj Trapezium Zone),” Vaidya said adding the green hydrogen will replace carbon-emitting fuels that are used in the refinery to process crude oil into value-added products such as petrol and diesel.
“We have got a number of expansions 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,” he said.
“Today, 50 buses in Delhi are being fueled by hydrogen-spiked compressed natural gas, or H-CNG, which has 18 per cent hydrogen content,” he said adding hydrogen fuel cell buses will be put to service on iconic routes of Vadodara-Sabarmati and Vadodara-Statue of Unity, Kevedia.
“About 15 fuel-cell-powered buses, with the fuel cells entirely India-made, are expected to ply in the second half of 2021. Since running these buses would require hydrogen, IOC is setting up a plant, whose capacity could be anywhere between 200 tonnes and 400 tonnes per day,” he added.