Green Hydrogen to Contribute Immensely towards Decarbonisation of the Refineries

There has been a greater amount of emphasis by both the Government of India and domestic companies to help the country in its mission towards a clean energy transition. To reduce the carbon footprint, an increasing number of companies across the globe are now exploring the green hydrogen option, which has been labelled as one of the cleanest forms of energy in the world.

May 27, 2022. By News Bureau

Over the past decade or so there has been a greater emphasis on building a more sustainable economy from both developed as well developing nations by steadily moving away from the usage of fossil fuels. Transitioning from a linear to a circular economy is the only viable solution that can ensure achieving the ‘Green Movement’. It underscores the need to shift towards the use of renewable resources and aims at eliminating waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems, and business models. It’s even more important for a country like India to adopt the circular economy path on a more proactive basis, as it is the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases and accounts for 9.2% of total world emissions.

There has been a greater amount of emphasis by both the Government of India and domestic companies to help the country in its mission towards a clean energy transition. To reduce the carbon footprint, an increasing number of companies across the globe are now exploring the green hydrogen option, which has been labelled as one of the cleanest forms of energy in the world.

For the uninitiated, it is important to understand that green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyser powered by electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. This means no release of greenhouse emissions since oxygen is the only by-product of this process. Additionally, if the electricity used comes from renewable sources, it makes the process completely emission-free.

Maire Tecnimont’s hydrogen strategy
Maire Tecnimont Group has been at the forefront and has devised a technology that brings in benefit to the environment, economy, and society at large. Maire Tecnimont’s subsidiary NextChem has developed its own hydrogen strategy and has a wide-ranging expertise in the traditional hydrogen technology. NextChem adopted a unique and flexible business model able to meet the needs of the new and rapidly evolving hydrogen market. To face up to the global challenges of the industry’s decarbonization, NextChem has developed three technologies to produce three different types of low carbon hydrogen: the ElectricBlue HydrogenTM, the Green Hydrogen and the Circular HydrogenTM. The ElectricBlue HydrogenTM. is produced from natural gas, but by electrifying the process, #CO2 #emissions are greatly reduced. In fact, thanks to an effective process of capturing CO2, it is possible to reduce the CO2 emitted by 45%.

The Circular HydrogenTM is produced by syngas obtained by the chemical conversion of #carbon and #hydrogen contained in #waste.

It offers significant environmental benefits because it can contribute to solving the problem of non-recyclable waste and to the decarbonization of refineries, and it has a competitive cost. The Green Hydrogen is the most #sustainable and this technology is attracting increasing interest and manages to compete with both fossil fuels and other types of hydrogen, because it is the only zero-carbon option.

NextChem has also developed the Green Circular District model in which integrates Upcycling technology and chemical recycling of plastic waste and dry waste into syngas and “circular” chemicals with technologies to produce hydrogen from renewable sources by electrolysis. The gGreen Circular District model is mainly aimed at the green recovery of industrial brownfield sites, above all in the petrochemical and steel sectors. The aim of the Green Circular District is to replace fossil sources in industrial processes (such as natural gas or hydrogen from methane) with feedstocks (renewable or circular) with a lower carbon footprint, which allows to reduce CO2 emissions of industrial sites and to increase the recycling, improving circular economy.

Journey so far
India’s journey into the green hydrogen space has been path-breaking so far. Currently, the industry faces some challenges such as high cost of production but owing to increased demand, technology upgradation and strong government support, the industry will soon establish economies of scale, driving down the cost. In line with India’s Make in India initiative and its net zero emission targets, the sector provides tremendous scope for growth and investments.

Despite some impediments, the biggest support came from the government itself, when it announced the National Hydrogen Mission last year to focus on meeting its climate targets. In line with India’s ambitious green commitments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also highlighted that green hydrogen will play an active role as an alternate fuel to petroleum/ fossil-based products for transforming India into an energy independent nation by 2047.
Last year, a report by TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi) showed that India’s hydrogen demand stood at 6 million Tons (MT) per year. It is estimated that by 2030, the hydrogen costs will be down by 50 per cent and demand for hydrogen is expected to see a 5-fold jump to 28 MT by 2050 where 80 per cent of the demand is expected to be green in nature, said the report. Many Indian companies have already started announcing their plans to dip their toes in the green energy sub-sector.

Technology tie-ups
Maire Tecnimont Group, too, has undertaken several green hydrogen initiatives over the past two years in several countries across its presence. In India, the Group is executing a project with Adani Enterprises by utilizing its subsidiaries NextChem and Stamicarbon’s technologies for producing chemicals, ammonia and hydrogen from renewable feedstock.

Similarly, the Group is also working towards bringing down emission levels in the fertilizer industry also. In Kenya, the Group has signed an agreement with Oserian Development Company for the development of the plant. The renewable power-to-fertilizer plant will support Kenya’s low carbon and inclusive growth, its agricultural output and its smallholder farmers and communities. The facility will reduce carbon emission with approximately 100,000 tons of CO2 per annum, compared to a gas-based fertilizer plant. The project will also reduce the dependency of imported nitrogen fertilizers.

Further, in the US, the Group is already executing a project with Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGPNA) under which the North American firm will leverage NextChem’s hydrogen technology and engineering expertise to grow its green hydrogen business in the US. The project, which is expected to be operational in 2023, will convert renewable energy from one of EGPNA’s solar plants in the United States into green hydrogen to be supplied to a bio-refinery.

Even as the world is looking at green hydrogen as a solution for decarbonisation, green hydrogen remains far-off from being a significant contributor to the global energy supply. The notion that the global energy sector is about to usher in the era of green hydrogen is distorting the significant challenges and barriers that must be overcome still.

- Milind Baride, Vice President - India Region, Maire Tecnimont Group
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