HPCL installs India’s first Solid Oxide Electrolyser for green hydrogen

The HPCL Solid Oxide Electrolyser system can produce Green Hydrogen with 99.99% purity and does not rely on rare earth materials for electrodes or electrolytes. The energy consumption of the system is also 20-30% lower than other electrolyzer technologies.

In a key development, government owned Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL) has commissioned first Solid Oxide Electrolyser (SOE) in India at its HP Green R&D Centre in Bengaluru. The objective is to generate Green Hydrogen (GH2).

HPCL says that this highly efficient pilot-scale electrolyzer can produce Green Hydrogen with 99.99% purity, marking a significant step in evaluating this technology for the production of green hydrogen and its derivatives.

The HPCL held that the unique Solid Oxide Electrolyser system generates Green Hydrogen using electricity from a captive Solar and Wind plant through a 20 kW Solid Oxide Electrolyser stack. Notably, this Solid Oxide Electrolyser system does not rely on rare earth materials for electrodes or electrolytes, and its energy consumption is 20-30% lower than other electrolyzer technologies. This efficiency has the potential to make the Green Hydrogen Mission economically sustainable.

During the commissioning, S. Bharathan, Director – Refineries HPCL, highlighted the progress made by HP Green R&D in supporting HPCL’s energy transition through innovation, research, indigenization, cost optimization, and revenue generation.

Leveraging this SOE system, the HP Green R&D Centre will conduct research on using low-quality steam and waste heat from refineries for hydrogen production, carbon capture via co-electrolysis to produce syn-gas and e-fuels, and high-temperature hydrogen for downstream applications.

With this achievement, the HP Green R&D Centre has the unique distinction of commissioning all three leading electrolyzer technologies. This will enable the simultaneous use of different types of electrolysers to optimize costs and facilitate the study of the impact of the intermittent nature of renewable energy from various sources, addressing associated challenges.

Subsequently, HPCL and OIL India Ltd. have signed an MoU to explore new business opportunities in the energy sector, including Oil & Gas, Sustainable and Renewable Energy, Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage , and Green Hydrogen.

Recently, HPCL revealed its plans regarding capital expenditure of about Rs 75,000 crore in the coming five years. Out of this, the company wants has earmarked 25 to 30% for the renewables and the gas segment. HPCL wants to increase its renewable energy portfolio to 2.4 GW by FY 2027-28 to reduce its carbon footprint. The PSU also targets to have a production capacity of 16,870 TPA of Green Hydrogen production by 2027-28. It had a capacity of nearly 3.5 TPA in 2022-23.

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