OMCs bet on hydrogen to tide over energy transition

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 15, 2021

Dharmendra Pradhan, Petroleum Minister

To produce hydrogen molecules, stored and trade as gas: Pradhan

Public-sector oil marketing companies will scale up hydrogen production and the applications of hydrogen-enriched compressed natural gas, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, said on Thursday.

“Presently, as in the case of other countries, our petroleum sector is the largest producer of hydrogen for various refinery process operations," Pradhan said at a virtual event titled Hydrogen Economy. “Hence, we realize the petroleum sector’s capability to produce hydrogen molecules, stored and traded as gas, making it a natural votary of this new energy form.”

“It provides us an opportunity to utilize existing business models and infrastructure unlike other e-options,” he said.

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd has been running a pilot project of hydrogen-enriched compressed natural gas (H-CNG) with 50 public transport buses in Delhi. “We plan to scale it up in the coming months across the major cities of India,” Pradhan said.

“By establishing synergies with natural gas, hydrogen can be easily adopted in the energy mix without seeking major infrastructural overhauling. We are looking forward to introducing H-CNG as an intermittent technology in a big way for both automotive and domestic cooking applications,” he added. “Efforts are underway to leverage the vast CNG pipeline infrastructure to reduce the transportation cost of hydrogen.”

Hydrogen can also be used as “a decarbonizing agent for a range of sectors including industry covering chemicals, iron, steel, fertilizer and refining, transport, domestic and industrial heat, and power,” he said.

“Our refineries are planning to leverage the available surplus hydrogen capacities in gray form for meeting the initial demand in mainstreaming hydrogen,” Pradhan said.

“One of such projects is underway at our Gujarat refinery of IndianOil wherein the combination of hydrogen production through natural gas and its hyphenation with the carbon capture technology, will result in the production of blue hydrogen,” he added. “Multiple buses powered by fuel cells will be covering various iconic routes.”

Published on April 15, 2021

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