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Indian Oil Company Selects Hythane Company to Build First Public Hydrogen Station in India

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), one of India’s largest petroleum marketing groups, has selected Hythane Company LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Australia-based Eden Energy Limited, to supply and install the first public hydrogen dispensing station in India to supply fuel to motor vehicles running on either hydrogen or Hythane (a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas; between 5-7% hydrogen by energy).

The US$1.0 million hydrogen/Hythane retail fuel outlet will be built in the capital, Delhi, at an existing gasoline/natural gas refueling station.

The station—including electrolytic hydrogen production (5 normal m3 of hydrogen per hour), compression, storage, blending (to make Hythane) and dispensing equipment—will be used to refuel a number of trial vehicles including buses, cars, trucks and three-wheel auto-rickshaws with either hydrogen or Hythane. Currently approximately 2,500 vehicles per day refuel at the existing site with gasoline, diesel and natural gas.

Although the initial hydrogen production is to use an electrolyzer, IOC is interested in putting a HyRadix Adéo reformer on-site in the near future, at which time the available capacity of the hydrogen and Hythane will be increased, according to the Hythane Company. Eden acquired HyRadix, a company specializing in on-site autothermal reforming (ATR) systems for the production of hydrogen from methane or LPG, in 2007. (Earlier post.)

The station is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2008, and is planned to be operating at the same time as two Hythane bus demonstration projects that Eden plans to undertake in Gujarat and in Mumbai during 2008.

Eden expects that the station and demonstrations will serve as a springboard for a progressive commercial rollout across India beginning in 20009 of what the company anticipates will be thousands of hydrogen/Hythane stations.

In 2007, India adopted a plan to use the hydrogen/natural gas blend as its natural gas vehicle fuel standard, as part of the nation’s drive to have at least 20% of all vehicles (estimated at more than one million vehicles) operating on hydrogen-based fuels by 2020.

This is a hugely significant milestone in Eden’s bid for global leadership in hydrogen fuel technology as it means Eden has now been fully accepted by “India Incorporated” to help drive its hydrogen based cleaner fuel emission objectives.

—Greg Solomon, Eden Energy’s Executive Chairman

Hythane has been working on the developing Indian market for a number of years. Projects and developments include:

  • Design work completed by Larsen & Toubro for Indian manufacturing of HyRadix Inc’s Aptus 100 hydrogen reformer unit, which can produce up to 100 normal m3 of hydrogen per hour. The Aptus systems produce high purity hydrogen from a feedstock of natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and can be combined to generate between 50-500 Nm3/h economically. Production to commence immediately in India by Larsen & Toubro of up to five of HyRadix’s Aptus 100 units, for use in Indian Hythane bus demonstration projects and for industrial gas applications.

  • Two Indian Hythane Bus demonstration project are planned for Q3 2008. Each of the two bus demonstration projects will take four-six months to complete and will be conducted in two stages. The first stage of each demonstration will involve the installation of an Aptus unit with two buses being trialled using Hythane.

    Once this is operating satisfactorily, the number of Hythane buses will be progressively increased in the second stage to approximately 50 buses. This is the number that can operate on Hythane with the quantity of hydrogen available from each Aptus 100 reformer.

    Each demonstration will be targeted at obtaining a full environmental, operational and economic assessment of using Hythane, produced on an Indian manufactured reformer, on Indian buses in Indian operating conditions.

    At the end of each demonstration project, it is planned to continue the operation of the demonstration units on an on-going commercial basis, and progressively rollout Hythane on a broad commercial basis by increasing the number of Hythane refuelling stations and the number of buses operating on Hythane.

    Hythane Company is nearing the end of the engine recalibration program with the Ashok Leyland bus engine which will be used in the bus demonstrations and it is planned to return the engine to India during the next two-to-three months for official testing and certification, in anticipation of using the engine in the bus demonstration project.

  • Additional design work underway in India by Larsen & Toubro for the Agilon 25 hydrogen reformer with a view to commencing production of the first unit late in the first quarter of 2008, for use in the first Hythane generator demonstration project in second or third quarters of 2008.

    HyRadix’ Agilon product line initially was an ATR fuel processor associated with a 5 kW PEM fuel cell stack. Hythane proposes using the larger unit to produce the necessary hydrogen to operate a 400 kW generator on a dual fuel mixture of diesel and Hythane.


Rafael Seidl

India's scarce resources might be better spent on developing a biomethane industry based on cellulose from agricultural waste streams. The anaerobic digester and amine scrubbing technology is readily available at industrial scales. The fully renewable product can be fed into existing natural gas pipelines.

A second challenge will be shifting part of India's vehicle fleet from liquid to gaseous fuel, e.g. adsorbed natural gas. The on-board storage system is quite expensive - a critical consideration for the majority of Indian consumers, who can barely afford to upgrade from two-stroke motorcycles to extremely cheap cars like the Tata Nano.

The third challenge will be setting up a network of fossil/biogas filling stations to support this fleet of ANG vehicles.

Blending hydrogen into the fuel to improve its ignition and combustion characteristics ought to be challenge four at best, not something that is implemented right away. Even India has to walk before it can run.

Roger Pham

India's ambitious methane/hydrogen transportation fueling program (20% of vehicles to use Hythane by 2020)is a wise and practical move and something that the USA should push even harder to achieve. Hythane is the quickest way and most cost-effective to replace petroleum as transportation fuel.

Why pay hundreds of billions of US Dollars yearly importing petroleum when the USA can develop its own synthetic methane at home?

Economic stimulus package, Mr Bush? Instead of refunding tax payers nearly 200 billions dollars so that they can buy more imported products (cars, electronics, clothing, appliances etc.) and further widening the trade imbalance, why not use that money to invest in domestic Hythane/synthetic methane fueling programs and renewable energy programs in order to eliminate future oil importation? The effect of elimination of oil importation is the equivalence of an economic stimulation package of several hundred billions USD to the American consumer EVERY YEAR.



I agree with the idea of SNG and investments in cellulose programs. However, the President and Congress have not done this over the years, so now it is crunch time.

Most people WILL probably buy goods made in other countries with the checks that they get from the Treasury. This will just increase the deficit and debt even further and do little if anything to improve the economy.

If India wants to do one trial program, I see no harm. Natural gas can be used with diesel and hydrogen used with natural gas. The blends have benefits and may be worth doing. One program is not a policy shift.


I guess if India has reserves of hydrogen, this makes perfect sense, but India as evrywhere else has only an unfillable demand in my estimation.
Hydrogen is one most valuable and slippery item that would solve many problems, IF it could be economicaly sourced, transported etc.
Some will say this is just a step away via nuclear. But energy efficent supplies are as far from reality as ever.
In the meantime the uses for and projected demand rocket away as a consequence.
If the hydrogen aspect is analyzed from the perspective of a nuclear economy, or surplus nuclear energy this all makes sense.
India is indeed planning along that line.
Since getting the green light from US and Australian Govts, this 'Schizophrenic' Non Proliferation Treaty - non signatuary - 'rouge state' nation has been working away towards this end.
Otherwise it would make more sense to concentrate on the natural gas infrastructure and get both experience and a working infrastructure. NG being a widespread established supply.
Even with a substantial nuclear program, hydrogen still doesnt stack up as an automotive fuel particularly as there are increasing essential uses.
NG doest particularly suffer from the lack of H, many other potential uses require it. Oil refineries, hydrocracking, biofuel processing and the chemical industries for example.
In the most polluted Indian cities there may be an increased advantage when using ICE vehicles, in keeping with he national infrastructure.
The point is not whether this a desirable additive, apparently its usefull if there is sufficient, rather like the first post, better uses abound and it seems an unnecessary complication when establishing the infrastructure.


Regarding hydrogen's use in transportation:

WHY????????? !



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