Indian Oil to use its grey hydrogen to make aviation fuel

M. Ramesh | | | Updated on: Jan 09, 2022

ATJ fuel plant will also use up its refiner’s grey hydrogen to produce the ethanol

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will put up a ‘demo plant’ within the next two years to convert ethanol into a biogas that would be used to run aircraft. The ‘alcohol-to-jet’ (ATJ) fuel plant will also use up its refiner’s grey hydrogen to produce the ethanol.

This was disclosed by IOC’s Director (R&D and Business Development), Dr SSV Ramakumar, at a press conference in Chennai recently. He said this in response to a question on what the refiner would do with the grey hydrogen that its refineries produce, when it shifts to green hydrogen (which is today splitting of water using solar energy).

There would be a lot of demand for biogas for aviation, when the CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) emission norms kick-in, in 2027.

Also, there is going to be a huge increase in the demand for ethanol, when the government of India’s mandate for mixing “20 per cent” ethanol with petrol, kicks-in, in 2025.

Ramakumar said that the demand for ethanol would then be about 1,000 crore litres. India today produces 350 crore litres. As such, there is a huge gap of 650 crore litres, for which production capacity needs to come up.

No harm test

Meanwhile, IOC plans to do a ‘no harm test’ on a pipeline to see which steel metallurgy can withstand some amount of hydrogen without suffering embrittlement.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has asked IOC to do such a test. “We are going to do the no-harm test very quickly and submit the report to the Ministry,” Ramakumar said.

If the no-harm test gives a positive result, hydrogen can be transported in (at least some of) the existing pipelines. “Pipeline transportation is the most economically viable means of transporting hydrogen,” Ramakumar pointed out.

Published on October 10, 2021
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