RELIANCE INDUSTRIES PLANS TO BECOME THE WORLD’S LARGEST BLUE HYDROGEN PRODUCER – EQ Mag Pro
In a major boost to the government’s vision to transition from fossil fuels to green energy, India’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has drafted a plan to repurpose its gasification assets at its refinery in Jamnagar, Gujarat, to become the world’s largest producer of blue hydrogen.
In a presentation submitted to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Mumbai, RIL said that the company will use syngas, already produced at its refinery’s petroleum coke (petcoke) gasifiers, which will be useful to make blue hydrogen. The company has envisaged plans to implement a carbon capture and storage scheme to offset the emissions. RIL’s blue hydrogen plan, however, is unlikely to affect its green hydrogen aims.
RIL approached NCLT seeking directions from the tribunal for convening the meetings of equity shareholders and creditors of the company for their approval to the Company Scheme Application (CSA). Also, the creditors and shareholders of Reliance Syngas Ltd (RSL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of RIL, have been asked to attend the meeting and share their opinions.
In fact, the CSA was admitted by the NCLT, and a meeting of RIL’s and RSL’s secured creditors, unsecured creditors, and equity shareholders is scheduled to take place on March 9, 2022, on virtual mode.
RIL has set an ambitious target to achieve net carbon zero by 2035 through migration from fossil energy to renewables, maximizing sustainable materials and chemicals as part of portfolio and carbon fixation, capture, and utilization.
“The transition to net carbon zero provides a unique opportunity to unlock value through the repurposing of assets and up gradation of configuration,” said the presentation.
With its 69.2 million tonnes per annum of aggregate refining capacity, RIL is currently categorized as the world’s largest refinery with its facility located in Jamnagar, Gujarat. The company has 1.06 million tonnes per annum of hydrogen production capacity also.
At Jamnagar refinery, the low-value fuel streams (off-gases) were taken out from the fuel pool and used as feedstock to convert into high-value petrochemicals. This helped RIL to build the world’s largest off-gas cracker with one of the lowest-cost producers of ethylene in the world. Thus, repurposing fuels to olefins through refinery oil-gas crackers (ROGC) created a deficit in the fuel pool at the Jamnagar site. Hence, gasification was set up to produce syngas for the energy needs of the complex, and provide a platform for future growth in high-value chemicals.
RIL said that syngas as a fuel has benefited the Jamnagar complex in terms of a reliable supply of energy with reduced volatility in energy costs and produce one of the lowest cost hydrogen for captive consumption.
Currently, Jamnagar energy demand is met through fossil fuels including syngas from the gasifiers. But, fossil fuels can be replaced with renewables, including solar, biomass-based fuel, hydrogen, and changing steam drives to electric drives. Also, the Jamnagar facility is proposed to progressively transition to renewable with a battery energy storage system (BESS) to meet its electricity and steam demand. Hydrogen demand is proposed to be met through green hydrogen produced through water electrolysis.
RIL has clarified that syngas has the potential to produce hydrogen at a competitive cost of around $1.2-1.5/kg.
“With carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), RIL can be one of the largest producers of blue hydrogen globally. In the interim, till the cost of green hydrogen comes down, RIL can be the first mover to establish a hydrogen ecosystem, with minimal incremental investment, in India,” the company said.
Subsequently, as hydrogen from syngas is replaced by green hydrogen, the entire syngas will be converted into chemicals. The company is exploring biomass feed in gasification to produce green hydrogen.
In an attempt to produce chemicals from syngas, RIL is planning to build an integrated acetyls complex including methanol, acetic acid, and its derivatives. Currently, India’s total demand for acetic acid (partly in purified terephthalic acid (PTA) is met through imports.