The Indian oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan has announced that India will create a hydrogen-based economy, focusing on transport fuels and industry, in order to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.
In the coming months a pilot project in Delhi for 50 buses to run on a hydrogen-compressed natural gas (H-CNG) blend, will be expanded to other major cities.
“Through technological advancements, we are blending hydrogen with compressed natural gas for use as a transportation fuel as well as an industrial input to refineries,” said Pradhan, announcing the investments in hydrogen. “We are looking forward to introducing H-CNG as an intermittent technology in a big way for both automotive and domestic cooking applications.”
India relies on crude oil imports to meet 85% of its requirements. A dispute with Opec and Saudi Arabia over prices has kickstarted the government to step up its quest for alternatives.
There are plans to leverage India’s growing CNG pipeline infrastructure to reduce the transportation cost of hydrogen, and India’s biggest refinery in Gujarat will manufacture blue hydrogen, using natural gas and carbon capture technology.
India exceeded a record 200,000 Covid-19 cases in the third week of April, putting several states in lockdown. Since cases have increased twenty times over since February, India is now the second most infected nation in the world after the US.
Fuel demand in India diminished for the first time in the 2020-21 fiscal year. Gasoline demand fell by 7pc to 647,000 b/d over the period, and diesel use declined by 12pc to 1.49mn b/d.