The Indian Petroleum Corporation (IOCL) is taking vigorous actions to get involved in the production of alternative fuels. For example, the top oil sales company (OMC) is improving its ability to provide hydrogen. In a virtual conference on “Conference Emission Challenges” organized by our sister publication “Automobile Experts”, Indian Oil Corporation Chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya said: “Indian Oil Corporation is committed to the use of hydrogen, and we have done a lot in this regard. Research…” He added that the use of hydrogen is expected to “significantly increase.”
- IOCL will launch 50 hydrogen-fueled buses from its Haryana and Gujarat refineries
- Oil giants begin to subsidize hydrogen prices
- Indian Petroleum hopes to cooperate with automobile companies to develop hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle projects
India’s oil’s hydrogen doubling
Commenting on the Indian oil company’s hydrogen production plan, Vaidya said: “Who can talk about hydrogen better than the oil industry? We are the largest hydrogen producer.”
He continued: “I’m very happy to share with you that we will use hydrogen fuel cells to run nearly 50 buses at both the Panipat (Haryana) refinery and the Gujarat refinery. The work on the refinery has begun and we Has invested in the manufacture of 99.5 INI fuel purity.” Vaidiya said that fuel cell buses will be launched in October or November this year.
Indian oil has also been touted to make hydrogen commercially viable. “At present, the hydrogen produced is extracted from natural gas, which is actually not so economical. But just to promote the development of the entire game, it will more or less be subsidized by Indian oil.”
OMC also hopes to build a business case by promoting economies of scale. “We will also form alliances with all car companies. We are already preparing vehicles so that we can supply hydrogen at a very reasonable price. I am sure that all car companies will work with us to carry out this very large experiment, and we will work hard to ensure hydrogen It will truly become the fuel of the future in the days and years to come.”
IOCL has long been a supporter of hydrogen in India’s transportation sector. The company opened a fuel cell laboratory at the R&D center in Faridabad in early 2018 and worked with Tata Motors to test the practicability and operation of fuel cell buses.
Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, Chairman of Indian Petroleum Corporation: At present, hydrogen is really not so economical. But just to push the entire game forward, it will be subsidized by IOCL.
India’s auto industry prepares for fuel cell electric vehicles
Biswajyoti Mandal, chief technology officer of parts supplier Schaeffler India, also said at the emissions conference: “India is the world’s largest producer of hydrogen.” Nevertheless, hydrogen is still mainly used in industrial applications, such as petroleum refining. The country’s transportation sector has not yet utilized alternative fuels. However, the Indian automotive industry has begun to notice the potential of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).
In September 2020, the government proposed the “Automotive Industry Standard” (AIS 157), which listed the safety and procedural requirements for type approval of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. “If someone must develop a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, then they must comply with all the guidelines of AIS-157. This means that India is seriously considering the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel.
Automakers also seem to be increasingly interested in this field. For example, in 2019, Hyundai India announced that it will work to evaluate the feasibility of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, Such as Nexo. However, since then, the company has not officially released news about the market.
Challenges of adopting hydrogen
Although the topic of hydrogen adoption is accelerating, there are still many obstacles to overcome. First, affordability is a challenge. The IOCL chairman said: “Hydrogen takes a long time economically,”.
Most of the country’s hydrogen production comes from “gray hydrogen”, which is produced by steam reforming of natural gas or methane, with CO2 as a by-product. In order to truly eliminate the carbon footprint, it is important to switch to the use of “green hydrogen” produced by the electrolysis of water from renewable energy sources.
In addition, until recently, IOCL’s Faridabad R&D center was the only hydrogen refueling station in the country. A huge distribution network needs to be established to make hydrogen popular as an alternative fuel.
At that time, India was in the early stages of a potential hydrogen revolution, and Indian oil’s latest move may help create demand and attract further investment, which made it an important step in the right direction.
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