Reliance Industries (RIL) is taking major steps to establish green hydrogen production infrastructure in Gujarat, preparing for its ambitious plans to begin fuel production by 2025, an ET report states. According to sources quoted in the report, the company has secured 74,750 hectares of land in Gujarat on a 40-year lease for its green hydrogen project. RIL is actively partnering with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to secure a green hydrogen supply chain and is also laying the groundwork to distribute green hydrogen through its Jio-BP outlets, they said.
Green hydrogen, produced through renewable energy sources, is the cleanest form of fuel. RIL aims to achieve a significant milestone of producing green hydrogen at just $1 per kilogram by 2030. Presently, the production economics of green hydrogen are estimated to be around $8-9 per kilogram, compared to less than $4 per kilogram for traditional fuels and feedstocks.
An industry official, speaking anonymously to ET, confirmed that RIL is diligently constructing green hydrogen dispensation infrastructure to ensure a smooth offtake of green hydrogen once production commences, " The company is targeting production of green hydrogen by 2025, and when that happens, it needs a ready infrastructure for offtake, " the official said.
RIL has planned an investment of $10 billion in capex to build a new energy ecosystem. Over the past several months, RIL has formed strategic partnerships with OEMs to supply green hydrogen.
Earlier this year, RIL collaborated with Ashok Leyland to unveil India's first hydrogen internal combustion engine (H2ICE) technology solution for heavy-duty trucks. Additionally, RIL, along with Olectra Greentech, a subsidiary of Megha Engineering and Infrastructures (MEIL), introduced a hydrogen bus in February, targeting commercial launch within a year. In another step, RIL joined forces with Bharat Benz to develop India's first intercity luxury concept coach powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology.
The H2ICE technology stands out as a combustion engine that can use hydrogen or a mixture of hydrogen and diesel fuel without requiring significant modifications to the vehicle's powertrain. This adaptability allows for easier conversion of vehicles to hydrogen-powered ones with minor adjustments.
RIL's partners state that these hydrogen-powered vehicles have an impressive travel range of approximately 400 km on a single fill, enabling long-distance travel between cities using clean fuel. Furthermore, refueling with hydrogen takes just 15 minutes for this range coverage. These vehicles will undergo rigorous trials, validation, and safety assessments over the next year.
Through its partnership with Ashok Leyland, RIL plans to retrofit engines for the company's fleet of trucks. RIL contracts a fleet of around 45,000 vehicles that are used for its refining and marketing operations. RIL's vision is to transition these trucks to green hydrogen, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable logistics ecosystem.
Barnik Chitran Maitra, managing partner, India & South Asia, of consulting firm Arthur D Little, was quoted in the report saying that the domestic use cases for green hydrogen may start with small pilots. According to Maitra, the focus will shift towards partnerships with global shipping firms, international transmission system operators, and international power generators, that are expected to replace fossil fuels with green hydrogen in the next five years.
RIL also has plans to retail green hydrogen through its Jio-BP retail outlets. With around 1,500 outlets already in operation, RIL aims to expand the network to 5,000, making green hydrogen easily accessible to the public, the report said.