Hydrogen in India – A Supply Side Review
In this first article in the series, we take a look at the current market forces in play on the supply side situation of Hydrogen in India and also give our opinions from the perspective of end users of these gases and how it affects their business.
- Present largest supplier of Hydrogen to the Indian market are Chlor Alkali plants. Former times they were very happy delivering Chlorine for Bleaching etc. and one of their many large clients were Paper mills. Increasingly, past 10 years these Mills are switching over to other Bleaching technologies which are evidently more eco-friendly. If less Chlorine is produced, then less Hydrogen will be co-generated. Another large consumer were Fabric producers who have discovered better a pollution free results from Hydrogen peroxide replacing Chlorine and Chlorine based chemicals.
- These Chlor Alkali plants are increasingly modifying their Industrial processes to use Chlorine for other value added products. One such example is diverting it increasingly to producing Hydrochloric acid which happily consumes both Chlorine and Hydrogen. Thereafter the Hydrochloric acid is being further value added to down stream products including Phosphatic Fertilizers. Chemistry and HCl offer many other profitable opportunities.
- Some of the very old Chlor Alkali plants are getting shut down. Reasons are: (i) Old plants leaking abundant pollution, (ii) High O & M costs, &, (iii) The old plant sites getting enveloped into Mega cities and thus forced to pack up picnic.
- Another significant source of Hydrogen are Oil Refineries. Yes, today every Refinery in India is producing Hydrogen for captive use. It has no choice because of the dirty crudes it has to process. None of these plants, at least for the present, offer to sell their Hydrogen to the Merchant Market. However, recently a major Indian Oil Player published an EOI (Expression of Interest) in the newspapers inviting Merchant Gas dealers to quote terms and rates for up lifting Hydrogen from one of it’s refinery in Northern India. It is not that the refinery needs this business, because in this regards, it is not their core, nor profitable business. This EOI was put out at the behest of the MNRE (Ministry of New & Renewable Energy) to support Hydrogen powered / Hydrogen enabled Industrial applications in North India because around a year ago one of the three Chlor Alkali plants in North India, around 100 kms. from Delhi, shut down simply due to old age and non viable O & M, and a management without deep pockets.
- Two Chlor Alkali plants along the Eastern Express Highway near Mumbai have shut down. They ended up being too near to the enlarging Mumbai megapolis and as such were old plants.
- Three years ago, in Kolkata, the only Chlor Alkali plant, was forced to shut down because it was already within the city precincts no longer acceptable to the Central Pollution Control Board. Many other such Industries in Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi have faced forced shut down and face re-location. One such example in Delhi was the entire DCM group.
- The rate at which the Chlor Alkali plants have shut down at least at present exceeds their replacement rates.
- The future of Chlor Alkali plants is firmly in the coastal belt of India, but then there is a lot of India, and Industrial consumers of Hydrogen thousands of kilometers away from the coast.
With Hydrogen demand growing (which we will look at the next article in this series) in India, consumers are facing several challenges including:
- Supply being increasingly squeezed (as explained above)
- Hydrogen demand growing at a healthy clip
- Cost of Transportation of Hydrogen also increasing steadily due to increasing rate of diesel in India
Hence, the customers today must look at ensuring their supply chain for Hydrogen does not get disrupted. One of the ways to do so is to produce their own Hydrogen in easy to operate gas plants using various feed stocks such as Water (H2O), Ammonia (NH3), Methanol (CH3OH) or Methane (CH3).
Read more about the above technologies on our Hydrogen pages.
Author: Mr. Rajeev Bhalla (V.P., Marketing, MVS Engineering Ltd.)
About the author: Rajeev is a technology evangelist and also a leading authority in on-site gas generation solutions. Hydrogen is a passion for Rajeev and he takes an all encompassing view when it comes to generation of Hydrogen. He takes a lot of interest to review Hydrogen from the user’s standpoint and hence is able to guide customers in selection of best-of-breed technologies. You may contact him at “rajeev @ www.mvsengg.com”.
About MVS Engineering Limited
MVS Engineering is a turnkey supplier of Gas generation equipment for Nitrogen, Oxygen and Hydrogengases. Additionally, we also manufacture Air, Gas, Liquid Dryers and also Gas Purification systems. MVS is the largest supplier of gaseous Nitrogen, Oxygen and Hydrogen plants in India. Besides India, MVS also regularly exports it’s equipment to the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia and Europe.
MVS was founded in 1977 and has supplied over 7000 Skid mounted units worldwide. Read more about the company in the About Us section of our website.