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Reliance Aims to Achieve Net-Zero Carbon Emissions for its Businesses by 2035

Green hydrogen, also known as 'clean hydrogen,' is created by splitting water into two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom using clean energy from renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power.

Shivam Dwivedi
Picture of Oil Refinery Plant
Picture of Oil Refinery Plant

Reliance Industries Ltd, owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, aims to become one of the world's largest producers of blue hydrogen, producing zero-emission fuel at half the global average cost. Hydrogen is the purest form of fuel known to man. Hydrogen can be grey, blue, or green depending on how it is produced.

Grey hydrogen is the most common type and is produced from natural gas, or methane, via a process known as 'steam reforming.' When the carbon produced by steam reforming is captured and stored, hydrogen is labeled blue. As a result, because the emissions are not dispersed in the atmosphere, blue hydrogen is sometimes referred to as carbon neutral.

Green hydrogen, also known as 'clean hydrogen,' is created by splitting water into two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom using clean energy from renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power.

Reliance Industries, the operator of the world's largest oil refining complex, will repurpose a 30,000 crore plant that currently converts petroleum coke into synthesis gas to produce blue hydrogen for $1.2-1.5 per kilogramme, according to a presentation outlining the separation plan.

Clean Energy Roadmap

Reliance, which has set a net-zero carbon emission target for its businesses by 2035, is considering blue hydrogen as an interim measure to reduce the cost of green hydrogen.

"In the interim, until the cost of green hydrogen falls, RIL can be the first mover to establish a hydrogen ecosystem in India with minimal incremental investment," Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) stated in the presentation.

According to the report, syngas has the potential to produce hydrogen at a competitive cost of $1.2-1.5 per kg. According to the European Commission's July 2020 hydrogen strategy, green hydrogen produced from renewable resources costs between $3 and $6.55 per kg.

The cost of fossil-based hydrogen is approximately $1.80 per kg, and the commission estimated the cost of blue hydrogen to be approximately $2.40-3 per kg.

Ambani previously stated that his company's goal is to produce green hydrogen for $1 per kilogramme by the end of the decade. He announced plans to invest $75 billion in renewables infrastructure last month.

According to Reliance, RIL's framework for reducing carbon footprint includes shifting from fossil fuels to renewables, maximizing sustainable materials and chemicals as part of the portfolio, and carbon fixation, capture, and utilization.

"The transition to Net Carbon Zero provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to unlock value through asset repurposing and configuration upgrades," it said.

Jamnagar Complex

Low-value fuel streams (off-gases) are extracted from the fuel pool and used as feedstock to convert to high-value petrochemicals at its mega oil refining complex in Jamnagar, Gujarat.

This syngas project will now be transferred to a wholly-owned subsidiary in order to unlock value. "Jamnagar's energy demand is currently met by fossil fuels, including syngas from gasifiers," the report stated.

"Renewables, such as solar, biomass-based fuel, hydrogen, and switching from steam to electric drives, can replace fossil fuels." To meet its electricity and steam demand, Jamnagar will gradually transition to renewables using a battery energy storage system (BESS).

Over time, green hydrogen produced through water electrolysis will meet hydrogen demand. The gasification assets will be repurposed by using syngas to produce hydrogen.

The gasification unit is proposed to be transferred as a going concern on a slump sale basis under the proposed scheme, according to the statement, adding that the scheme of Arrangement has been submitted to the National Company Law Tribunal for approval.

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