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IESW 2024: Spotlighting electrolyzer manufacturing opportunities in India

Electrolyzers are critical for production of green hydroden. In India, engineering major Larsen and Toubro has launched indigeniously manufactured electrolyzers, but in terms ot achieving industry potential, there is still some distance to go. A panel at IESW 2024 analyzed the electrolyzer & BOP manufacturing opportunities in India, with a focus on opportunities for electrolysis BOP manufacturing, updates on the country's electrolyzers PLI and components and supply chain. 
Dr. Ajinkya Kamat, Senior Manager, IESA & Customized Energy Solutions, served as moderator the the panel, which also consisted of Shekhar Kashalikar, Chief Executive Officer, John Cockerill Greenko Hydrogen Solutions, Nikhil Matthew, Manager-ELectrolyzers, Eastern Electrolyzers Ltd, Naveen Goudar, Managing Director, MKS Atotech and Sourabh Narang, Head- India and South Asia- Materials and Structural Analysis Division, Thermofisher Scientific. 

Dr. Kamat started the panel by pointing out that electrolysis was not new, in fact it was the first industrial technology used to produce hydrogen, with first usage dating back to 1890. Industries switched to hydrocarbons during the early part of the last century, but the energy transition had brought electrolyzers back into focus. However, "current announcements meet only 60 percent of projected electrolyzer demand in 2030," Dr Kamat pointed out, adding that this indicated the immense market scope for electrolyzer manufacturing in India. 

Shekhar Kashalikar introduced the audience to John Cockerill's 5 MW hydrogen stacks and their partnership with Greenko. He pointed out that the company delivered 206 MW in 2022, or 20 percent of the worldwide market. "Typically the market has been doubling annually over last four years, but now growth rate is expected to increase even further," he said.  

He listed the GH2 supply chain opportunities in India under three broad heads:

  • Mechanical components -- bipolar plates, end plates, nickel-plating of components 
  • Electrical components -- power conversion units (transformer-rectifer with controls)
  • Fabricated / assembled sections --- purification skids. India already has skill in this space, since it has been supplying these components to oil & gas industry in the Middle East. 

Nikhil Matthew introduced his company, an India electrolyzer manufacturer since 1969, and its stack (a 5 MW alkaline electrolyzer cell) that is 2.3 meters high and weighs 50 tonnes. 

Mathew also listed the pilots that EEL had been a part of, which include refueling stations in Leh-Ladakh to blending projects in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, and a 2.5 MW stack for Hindustan Petroleum in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh. 

Naveen Goudar introduced Atotech, the "No 1 electroplating company in the world" and outlined its solutions for alkaline electrolyzer, listing both the electrolytic and electroless process with advantages and disadvantages of both.  

Goudar emphasized on the need for collaboration between companies: "We have to come together to make this happen. Only then this can happen" and pointed out that "skill comes when scale comes into the picture." It's seat to undertake plating on a small scale and size. It's when this has to be done on a large scale and size that skill is required. 

Sourabh Narang spoke about  PEM fuel cell research and real-world challenges with ThermoFisher Scientific's solutions. He also highlighted barriers to growth from the foreign company point of view, telling the attendees, "For example, I want to come to India, but do my suppliers also want to come here? Are they present? Is it easy enough for them? Thus, the complete ecosystem or supply chain needs to be there for companies to move in."  

For more details of the IESW 2024, visit indiaesa.info 

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