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Reliance to use gasification unit at world's largest refinery to produce hydrogen

The National logo The National 25/11/2021 Jennifer Gnana
The gasification unit at the 1.2 million barrels-per-day Jamnagar refinery in western Gujarat state was originally intended to produce syngas, which is a fuel gas mixture comprising hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Bloomberg © Dhiraj Singh The gasification unit at the 1.2 million barrels-per-day Jamnagar refinery in western Gujarat state was originally intended to produce syngas, which is a fuel gas mixture comprising hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Bloomberg

Reliance Industries, India's largest private sector company controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, plans to transfer the gasification units at Jamnagar – the world's largest refinery – into a wholly-owned unit as it transitions to renewables.

The gasification unit at the 1.2 million barrels-per-day refinery in the western Gujarat state was originally intended to produce syngas, or synthetic gas, which is a fuel gas mixture comprising hydrogen, carbon monoxide and some carbon dioxide.

The syngas was later used as feedstock to produce olefins, which are used for manufacturing plastics, detergents and adhesives.

Syngas also feeds into the production of hydrogen at the refinery.

"Repurposing the gasification assets will help use syngas as a reliable source of feedstock to produce these chemicals and cater to growing domestic demand, resulting in an attractive business opportunity," the company said.

"Further, as the hydrogen economy expands, RIL will be well positioned to be the first mover to establish a hydrogen ecosystem."

The move follows Reliance's decision to transition away from fossil fuels and tap renewables as its primary source of energy.

The company plans to channel the syngas into producing high-value chemicals and hydrogen, which is increasing in importance amid global efforts to decarbonise power grids.

"Carbon dioxide released during the process of producing hydrogen is highly concentrated and easy to capture, substantially reducing the cost of carbon capture. Overall, these steps will help sharply reduce [the] carbon footprint of Jamnagar complex," the company said.

On Saturday, Reliance Industries and Saudi Aramco agreed to re-evaluate a previous non-binding agreement to sell a 20 per cent stake in the Indian company's oil-to-chemicals business.

The re-evaluation follows the company's ongoing shift to renewable energy.

At Reliance's annual general meeting in June, Mr Ambani unveiled an ambitious push into clean energy that earmarks 750 billion Indian rupees ($10.1bn) of investment over three years to help transform the company, which still gets nearly 60 per cent of its revenue from fossil fuel-related businesses.

Reliance has a 15-year strategy to become net-carbon zero by 2035.

Reliance Industries is also developing one of the world’s largest integrated renewable energy manufacturing facilities in Gujarat as part of its pivot to new energy and materials businesses.

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