India’s state-owned gas transmission and marketing giant Gail has awarded a contract aimed at setting up one of the largest proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers in the country to produce green hydrogen by end of 2023.

“The project has been designed to produce around 4.3 tonnes of hydrogen per day [about 10 megawatts capacity] with a purity of about 99.99% per cent volume,” Gail stated on Thursday.

Gail said the project would be installed at the company’s Vijaipur Complex, in the Guna district of Madhya Pradesh, and would be operated on renewable power.

Compatriots Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and NTPC have also announced green hydrogen projects in the country, but the description of Gail’s electrolyser plant seems to suggest a bigger scheme.

Gail did not provide details of costs or the contractor involved.

“[The project] is scheduled to be commissioned by November 2023… the project has been awarded to a vendor having domestic value addition of more than 50%,” the company noted.

Earlier this year, Gail kicked off the nation’s first project for blending hydrogen into the natural gas system.

Hydrogen blended natural gas is being supplied to one of the company’s joint ventures — Avantika Gas Limited (AGL), which is a city gas distribution (CGD) company operating in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

IOC said last year it is set to build India’s first green hydrogen plant in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in the nation’s north.

The company has also stated it will use a wind project in Rajasthan to provide electricity to its Mathura refinery and to produce green hydrogen through electrolysis — the process of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Renewables targets

India has an ambitious target for ramping up its “non-fossil fuel energy capacity” to 500 gigawatts by 2030.

The nation will also look to satisfy 50% of its energy requirements from renewable sources by the same deadline, up from a previous target of 40%.

In October last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded to criticism India was dragging its feet on climate action by announcing, during the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, a new national target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2070.

Modi has also pledged that India will reduce its carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030 and cut the carbon intensity of its economy by 45%.

Big-ticket investments

IOC, BPCL, NTPC and private sector conglomerates Reliance Industries and the Adani group have announced billions of dollars worth of investments in hydrogen and renewable-energy projects.

BPCL earlier this year unveiled an ambitious plan to invest up to 250 billion Indian rupees ($3.36 billion) in building a diversified renewables portfolio that will include solar, wind, small hydro and biomass.

A senior executive from BPCL has said the company aims for its renewable-energy portfolio to reach 1 GW by 2025, with 10 GW capacity being targeted for 2040 by the latest.

Green hydrogen

Indian engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T), IOC and renewables major ReNew Power have formed a joint venture to develop green hydrogen projects across the country.

The trio signed a binding term sheet for the formation of the joint venture, aimed at developing the nascent sector in India.

IOC and L&T also signed a separate deal to form a joint venture to manufacture and sell electrolysers to be used in the production of green hydrogen.

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