Indian Oil, a giant oil and gas corporation, is now focusing on the production of alternate fuels. At a virtual conclave Indian Oil’s Chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, said, “Indian Oil is committed to the use of hydrogen and we are doing a lot of research in this particular aspect.” Another company called OMC is also increasing its production of hydrogen fuel. Indian oil aims at launching its pilot project by this year.

Why Indian oil is focusing on Hydrogen?

Mr Vaidya regarding this said “Who better than the oil industry to talk about hydrogen? We are the single biggest producers of hydrogen.” He also added that “I’m very happy to share that we are going to operate nearly 50 buses on hydrogen fuel cells from two sides – from the Panipat (Haryana) refinery and the Gujarat refinery. The work at the refinery has already started, and we have invested to make 99.5 INI fuel purity.” 

Indian oil plans to make hydrogen commercially available and within its consumers’ reach to subsidize the hydrogen fuel and look into alternative methods to decrease its price.IOCL will be rolling out 50 hydrogen buses from its refineries which are based in Gujarat and Haryana 

In regards to business with car manufacturers: “We are also going to line up all the automotive companies. We are already in the process to come up with vehicles so that we can supply hydrogen at a very reasonable price. I’m sure all the automobile companies will join hands with us in this very big experiment where we are trying to ensure that hydrogen becomes the fuel of the future in the days and years to come.”

Mr Biswajyoti Mandal, CTO of component supplier Schaeffler India, said, “India is the largest hydrogen producer in the world.” As of now India still uses hydrogen for industrial purposes and the Transportation sector is yet to seriously start the usage of alternative fuels.

The Indian market has only recently started taking the alternative fuel market seriously and has focused on cars that are dependent on alternative fuels like Hyundai Nexo.

Given the changes in the market, the government has also started making guidelines for alternative fuels and minimum standards. 

AIS 157: lists the requirements for the safety and procedural type for the approval of hydrogen FCEVs.

All the vehicles that are to be run on hydrogen fuel cells should follow the AIS 157 norms.

Drawbacks and challenges

One of the main challenges in regards to switching to hydrogen fuel is its cost and the IOCL chairman estimates that it would take a long time for the hydrogen fuel to become economically viable.

Most of the hydrogen production in India does produce a carbon footprint and to eliminate these changes have to be made so that the hydrogen energy is produced through eco-friendly methods such as through electrolyzing of water etc.

India does not have hydrogen filling facilities which is a huge drawback and major changes have to be made and many new facilities set up to make it available across the country.

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