India’s OMCs setting targets for biofuels and electric vehicles

Indian Oil (IOC) is setting up a 60-acre R&D centre in Faridabad for over Rs 3,200 crore, to support research in alternative energy domains. Besides offering fuel efficient, value-added fuel variants like XP95, India’s first 100 octane petrol XP100, Xtra green (diesel), the company is also investing around Rs 1,000 crore in 2G ethanol and compressed biogas (CBG) segments to strengthen the bio-energy portfolio.

IOC also intends to convert the grey hydrogen at its Gujarat refinery to blue hydrogen. In this regard, a joint feasibility study has been undertaken with ONGC for capturing about 1,500 tonnes per day of CO2, for enhanced oil recovery from ONGC oilfields in Gujarat. “We intend to run fuel-cell buses from the Gujarat refinery to the Statue of Unity in February 2022, which will be a big demonstration of using hydrogen in the transport sector,” says IOC chairman, Vaidya.

HPCL has nine labs and seven more under-construction to expand its100-acre Bangalore Green R&D centre, where 200 scientists are working and have already secured over100 patents in last five years.  HPCL is setting up a 2G bio-refinery in Bathinda, which will convert agri-waste to ethanol, and a 370-tonnes-per-annum green hydrogen plant at its Vizag refinery. It already has a green hydrogen plant at its R&D centre in Bengaluru.

Electric vehicles [EVs] is another focus area. IOC, which has over 33,000 fuel and 439 EV-charging stations plus 30 battery-swapping stations, plans to set up 10,000 EV-charging stations across the country. BPCL is looking to set up 7,000 charging stations across the country over the next few years, while HPCL is eyeing charging facilities at around 5,000 retail outlets within the next three years. Its 322 outlets already have EV-charging facilities.

However, all three OMCs believe the domestic EV industry is still in a nascent stage, and issues such as the cost factor, range anxiety, battery problems, etc., need to be addressed first. Battery manufacturing is another area of interest. IOC is conducting research on aluminium batteries as the mineral is abundantly available in India, as a replacement for lithium batteries for the raw material has to be imported. All three CMDs say the future will be a mix of the traditional business, in addition to gas, renewables and biofuel and speciality chemicals, as well as non-fuel businesses in the long term.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *