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India eyes plan to blend hydrogen in natural gas grid; sees biomass as H2 feedstock

Highlights

Sees huge potential for biomass gasification as feedstock

Singapore — India envisages a bright future for hydrogen in the next 15-20 years, supplementing natural gas via blending in the grid and in compressed natural gas for vehicles, the president of the Hydrogen Association of India said April 15.

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Speaking at the virtual conference "Hydrogen Economy: New Delhi Dialogue - 2021," R. K. Malhotra said India has already been experimenting with blending hydrogen into CNG, but that the current cost of the blend was higher than the unblended CNG, because "the cost to produce hydrogen is much higher than the cost of the natural gas."

He added that a limit of around 18% of hydrogen was blended in the CNG, leading to a drop in emissions.

Malhotra said that eventually, India would be use fuel cells as well as hydrogen in vehicles, but the blending into natural gas and CNG would be the initial stage for "quite some time" in India. "This is important because India is expanding the gas grid all over various parts of the country."

Malhotra said the blending into natural gas was seen as a solution to the high cost of transporting and distributing hydrogen on its own.

Biomass potential

For the feedstock for hydrogen in India, several options are open, although it was still in the early stages for this, Malhotra said.

One option would be electricity, as India's push for renewable electricity could lead to surplus electricity, which could be used to produce green hydrogen via electrolysis, Malhotra said.

Another potential route for India is to produce hydrogen by gasifying petroleum coke, coal and biomass.

Malhotra noted that biomass has a huge potential for production of green hydrogen in India, while currently it is often burnt and causes pollution. It is "available everywhere in India," he said.

However, hydrogen would be competing with ethanol production as a biomass feedstock, he said. On top of that, the crucial issue of collecting biomass products and transporting them to a processing plant would be something to be resolved.