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Officials announced that ONGC, India’s largest oil explorer, and its partners will invest USD 6.2 Billion (Rs 50,000 Crore) in green energy projects to make carbon-free hydrogen as part of an ambitious drive for decarbonization.
The state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has entered into a pact to partner with Greenko (one of India’s largest and most respected renewable energy companies) in a 50/50 joint venture for green projects.
They stated that the JV will create 5.5-7 gigawatts of wind and solar power projects and use electricity from these plants to separate water in an electrolyzer to make green hydrogen. This would then be used to manufacture green ammonia.
The renewable plants together with Greenko’s pump storage power generation system will give 1.4 GW of round-the-clock (RTC) electricity that would be used to produce 0.18 million tonne of green hydrogen per annum (about 20 kg per hour).
This hydrogen will be mixed with nitrogen to produce 1 million tonne per annum of green ammonia, which in the initial years will be exported to Europe, Japan and Korea and used within the country when the market develops, they said.
Officials said the renewable energy component of the chain would cost about USD 5 billion while the hydrogen and ammonia plant will cost USD 1.2 billion.
ONGC is looking to set up the hydrogen and ammonia plants, which are likely to start production in 2026, on the west coast, preferably near Mangalore, where it has an oil refinery. In case the land is not available, the project may shift to Gujarat, they said.
ONGC, the nation’s biggest producer of crude oil and natural gas, joins the likes of Reliance Industries Ltd and the Adani group in chasing carbon-free hydrogen.
The two private groups have announced multi-billion projects as part of India’s net-zero goals.
Globally, around 85 per cent of hydrogen is captive, produced and consumed on-site, mainly at petroleum refineries.
Most of the hydrogen currently produced in India is either grey (produced from fossil fuel) or blue (produced from natural gas with the carbon dioxide by-product being captured and stored).
Green hydrogen is made using electrolysis powered by renewable energy to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, creating an emissions-free fuel.
Fossil-based hydrogen currently costs about USD 1.80 per kilogram, while the cost of blue hydrogen, which is produced using natural gas and carbon capture, is estimated to be about USD 2.40 per kilogram. Green hydrogen costs USD 3-4.