GAIL to build India’s largest green hydrogen plant in 12-14 months

State-owned GAIL (India) Ltd will build India’s largest green hydrogen plant in the next 12-14 months, as it looks to supplement ‎its natural gas business with carbon-free fuel.

Speaking at the India Energy Forum by CERAWeek, GAIL Chairman and Managing Director Manoj Jain said the company is looking at building a 10-megawatt (MW) electrolyzer capable of generating 4.5 tonnes of green hydrogen daily.

The firm has already floated a global tender to buy the electrolyzer and is hoping to get delivery in 12-14 months.

“It will take 12-14 months to put the plant,” he said adding that the company has finalised 2-3 sites for the unit including one at Vijaipur in Madhya Pradesh, where the company has a gas processing plant.

Hydrogen is the latest buzz for meeting the world’s energy needs. Hydrogen can be produced in three different ways — through coal gasification (brown hydrogen), deriving it from methane in natural gas (blue hydrogen) and using renewable energy to produce green hydrogen. Green hydrogen is the cleanest of all with zero carbon emission.

Jain said the plant planned is for 10 MW capacity, the largest announced so far in the country.

It will be double the size of the one announced by state electricity producer NTPC.

Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has also announced plans to build a green hydrogen plant at its Mathura refinery.

“We have on a pilot basis started mixing hydrogen in natural gas in one of the cities,” Jain said adding that the company is testing for idea mix percentage before scaling it up.

The hydrogen GAIL plans to produce can be sold to fertiliser units, which, as per government mandate, are required to use hydrogen as fuel, he said.

India’s largest gas-transporting and marketing company is also looking at newer avenues to boost business including pushing for use of LNG as fuel in long-haul trucking.

“For India to achieve the target of raising the share of natural gas in the energy basket to 15 per cent gas usage by 2030 from current 6.2 per cent, gas consumption has to rise three-and-a-half times to 600 million standard cubic meters per day. And, for this to happen, all sectors have to jump in,” he said.

The government, he said, is pushing for the use of LNG as fuel transport and the mining sector.

“We as the industry will set up 20 LNG dispensing stations on Golden Quadrilateral by March 2022 and 500-600 outlets in 3-4 years. The ultimate target is 1,000 LNG stations,” he said.

Jain said 70 per cent of India’s imported gas is through long-term contracts, which is shielding users such as fertiliser plants and refiners from the current price volatility.

Indian power consumers are affected by gas price volatility, which is also discouraging new users planning to switch to gas, he added. 

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