IndianOil to build India’s first green hydrogen plant at Mathura refinery

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New Delhi: To strengthen its bouquet of clean energy offerings, IndianOil (Indian Oil Corporation Limited) will build the nation’s first ‘Green Hydrogen’ plant at its Mathura refinery.

Hydrogen being the cleanest form of energy is the latest focus area across the globe to satiate the rising energy needs. 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.

Integration with appropriate carbon capture and utilisation 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 & gas sector.   

IndianOil Chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya

Speaking of this ambitious project, IndianOil Chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, said, “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”.

Talking about IndianOil’s growing footprint in the green energy landscape, Mr Vaidya said, “IndianOil has a wind power project in Rajasthan and it intends to wheel that power to its Mathura refinery to produce absolutely green hydrogen through electrolysis.

Mr Vaidya also elaborated on the project’s rationale and said, “Mathura has been selected because of its proximity to TTZ (Taj Trapezium Zone). 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, IOCL has got several expansion plans down the line which are already approved. It included a captive power plant and it will utilise power from the grid, preferably green power. This will help decarbonise some part of the manufacturing. 

Underlining IndianOil’s ambitious plans to consolidate the core businesses, Mr Vaidya said, “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.”

He also said, “Forecasts by various agencies sees 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”.

Sharing his optimism about hydrogen as an emerging energy vertical, Mr Vaidya said, “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.

He said the IOCL converted 50 CNG BS-IV buses to run on HCNG fuel in Delhi. It has resulted in reducing exhaust emissions and improving the fuel economy.

Also, with the support of the MoPNG, IndianOil is in the process of setting up ~1 tonne per day capacity pilot plants based on four innovative hydrogen production technologies, and will also be operating 15 fuel cell buses in the Delhi NCR region along with Tata Motors.

He said the company also 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.

IndianOil also intends 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, the IndianOil Chairman said.

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