India's first hydrogen fueling station was officially opened on Sunday 9th October by Mr Mani Shanker Aiyar, Honourable Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Panchayati Raj. This is the first phase of India's development of its Hydrogen Economy. The facility, a Hydrogen/Compressed Natural Gas (HCNG) blend and pure hydrogen dispensing station, is located at the Indian Oil Corporation Limited's R&D centre, in Faridabad, just north of New Delhi. The event was hosted by Mr Sarthak Behuria, Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.
The fueling station, owned by the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), has been supplied by Air Products and its Indian joint venture company INOX Air Products Ltd. Air Products and INOX won the contract after an open tendering process, which was in place from the start. The equipment consists of a HCNG mixing unit, and dual dispensing unit which has the ability to fuel vehicles with either a HCNG blend or with pure hydrogen.
The unit will enable IOCL to reduce the carbon and NOX emissions from compressed natural gas vehicles, by adding hydrogen to natural gas. IOCL plans to run at least four vehicles as part of its test programme. This installation is the first step towards building an infrastructure required for pure hydrogen based fueling systems.
Air Products and INOX Air Products were thanked for the supply of the system in Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar's inaugural address. "I am grateful to the branch in London and its Indian team to have participated in this unique and ground breaking project at IOCL R&D."
IOCL commented "Air Products responded to our international tender for the fueling system with the most comprehensive offer which, after detailed evaluation, met all IOCL's requirements. This, taken together with Air Products' global leadership in hydrogen and its worldwide references for HCNG blending systems, resulted in IOCL awarding Air Products the opportunity to supply the first Indian hydrogen, CNG blender, dispenser system to IOCL's R&D facility in Faridabad." IOCL added: "The system was successfully commissioned by Air Products and its Indian partner INOX Air Products."
"Air Products has proven experience in fueling with HCNG - most notably as part of the Las Vegas Energy Station and as part of the project with the University of California Davies", commented Ian Williamson, Manager, Future Energy Solutions Europe. "The Hydrogen Fuel Cell team benefits from worldwide experience and has the benefit of local understanding from our local partner INOX Air Products. We are now looking forward, together with INOX Air Products, to playing our full part in the ambitious plans India has for its hydrogen economy".
As a major player in the future hydrogen economy and part of the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE), India has already taken a lead in to the development of alternative fuels. For example, all public transport vehicles in the city of New Delhi are stipulated to run on Compressed Natural Gas with the aim to improve local air quality. It is a project in which Indian Oil Corporation Limited is heavily involved.