Indian solar developer ACME Group and the government of Karnataka have vowed to spend a total of ₹520bn ($6.7bn) on a massive green hydrogen and ammonia plant in the southwestern state, but ACME remains tight-lipped about the relative quantities of each product.
In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the pair this week, ACME and the state of Karnataka laid out their ambition to deliver a plant that will produce 1.2 million tonnes per year of green hydrogen and green ammonia by 2027.
Power for the project would be sourced from a dedicated solar plant.
But ACME declined to say how much of the 1.2 million tonnes would be hydrogen and how much ammonia, telling Recharge that it is “in the process of discussion and finalising the details”.
The headline output figure would put the project among the biggest in the world for both hydrogen and ammonia production, but the scale will depend on how much of the tonnage is made up of H2, the lighter of the two products.
Hydrogen makes up just 18% of the mass of ammonia, which is produced by combining H2 with nitrogen from the air via the century-old Haber-Bosch process.
ACME chairman Manoj Kr Upadhyay said the project would be one of the largest green ammonia projects in the world, adding: “We will be a formidable player in accelerating the adoption of the green fuel globally.”
ACME is already developing a green ammonia plant of comparable size, in Duqm, Oman, in partnership with Norway’s Scatec. The first phase of the project aims to deliver 100,000 tonnes of green ammonia per year, before scaling up in its second phase to 1.2 million tonnes with the help of a 3.5GW electrolyser powered by 5.5GW of solar power.
And it has already developed a “semi-commercial scale” green hydrogen-ammonia project in the northern Indian province of Rajasthan.
Currently the largest hydrogen-only plant under construction is Sinopec’s Kuqa development in Xinjiang, China, which is targeting 20,000 tonnes per year by 2023 with a 260MW electrolyser.
The state of Karnataka, which has promised to help ACME with all permitting requirements for the hybrid project, is also launching its bid to become a hydrogen hub.
The proposed project’s output would count towards India’s nationwide target to produce five million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030 and to become a production and export centre for renewable H2.
To this end, the national government in New Delhi has agreed to waive inter-state electricity transmission fees for green hydrogen projects for 25 years and give projects priority status for grid connection.
The grid fees waiver alone could reduce the cost of manufacturing green hydrogen in India by 75% on current levels to $1.50/kg by 2030, one Indian oil executive has claimed.