Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Forms JV with L&T and ReNew Power for Green Hydrogen Production

Last year in July, Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOC) announced that it is building India's first 'Green Hydrogen' plant at its Mathura refinery. Now almost a year after, IOC has signed a binding term sheet with two private firms -- Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and ReNew Power (ReNew) -- to set up a Joint Venture (JV) company that will develop the green hydrogen sector in India.

As per lastest IOC release, there will be two JV companies --- one involving three entities, IOC, L&T and ReNew, and second between IOC and L&T, only  

As per first JV, three companies will together aim to supply green hydrogen at an “industrial scale” by combining L&T’s credentials in designing, executing, and delivering engineering, procurement and construction projects, Indian Oil’s established expertise in petroleum refining with its presence across the energy spectrum, and the expertise of ReNew in offering and developing utility-scale renewable energy solutions.

In second JV, IndianOil-L&T JV will focus on production and sale of Electrolyzer. IOC and L&T have signed an additional binding term sheet to form a JV with equity participation to manufacture and sell Electrolyzers used in the production of Green Hydrogen. 

While IOC is an Indian government owned oil & gas explorer and producer, L&T and ReNew are private companies. ReNew is Gurgaon-based renewable energy company that focuses on wind-energy projects. Backed by hedge fund Sylebra Capital and investment bank Goldman Sachs, ReNew went public in August last year, at the US stock exchange NASDAQ. 

ReNew has recently commissioned Gujarat's first wind-solar hybrid project at the Chlor-Alkali unit of Grasim Industries Ltd in Vilayat, Bharuch.

Government of India's draft guidelines on the National Hydrogen Mission aims to increase production to 5 million metric tonnes (MMT) by 2030 to meet about 40% of domestic requirements.

The planned JVs aim is to enable India’s transition from a grey hydrogen economy to a greener economy that increasingly manufactures hydrogen via electrolysis powered by renewable energy.

Green hydrogen is derived from water electrolysis using renewable energy like solar or wind. Biomass-based hydrogen production technologies also qualify under the green category. On the other hand, Brown and grey hydrogen are produced through coal gasification and natural gas reforming, respectively.

As of now, nearly all of the hydrogen currently produced in India is grey hydrogen using natural gas and ammonia.

The latest IOC release said -- By 2050, nearly 80% of India’s hydrogen is projected to be ‘green’ – produced by renewable electricity and electrolysis. Green hydrogen may become the most competitive route for hydrogen production by around 2030. This may be driven by potential cost declines in key production technologies and in clean energy technologies such as solar PV and wind turbines.

Today, hydrogen is mainly used in the refining, steel and fertilizer sectors, which will be the focus of the JVs’ initial efforts. The country’s refining sector consumes approx. 2 MMT of grey hydrogen every year, with IndianOil owning one of the largest shares of its refining output.

Last year in August, Indian Railways announced that its exploring the feasibility of retrofitting the trains (that presently run o­n diesel) with hydrogen fuel and for same it invited bids for "hydrogen fuel cell-based technology" for retrofitting the existing Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) and will be test it out in 89 km Sonipat-Jind section of Northern Railway.

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