India’s first green hydrogen plant to be set up at IOC’s Mathura refinery

India’s largest fuel retailer, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), has announced that it will build the nation’s first green hydrogen plant at its Mathura refinery. This will be the nation’s first green hydrogen unit. Previously, projects have been announced to produce ‘grey hydrogen’ using fossil fuels such as natural gas. This is significant given that Hydrogen is the latest buzz for meeting the world’s energy needs.

The company’s strategic growth path 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.

“IOC has a wind power project in Rajasthan. We intend to wheel that power to our Mathura refinery to produce absolutely green hydrogen through electrolysis,” said S M Vaidya, Chairman, IOC.

He added that the company has selected Mathura because of its proximity to Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ). The idea is that 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.

With Indian fuel demand expected to climb to 400-450 million tonnes by 2040 as against 250 million tonnes currently, 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 Indian Oil. We are pushing ahead with research on carbon capture, utilisation, and storage technologies,” added Vaidya.

Hydrogen, in itself, is a clean fuel but manufacturing it is energy-intensive and has carbon by-products. For instance, brown and grey hydrogen is 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. Brown hydrogen is created through coal gasification while the process of producing grey hydrogen throws off carbon waste.

Green hydrogen production, however, is the ultimate clean hydrogen resource as it uses renewable energy like solar or wind to create hydrogen fuel.

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