ACME Group takes the lead on green hydrogen and ammonia to accelerate energy transition
Solutions such as green hydrogen and ammonia can decarbonise entire industries and make a real difference in the global energy transition, but such sectors need cost-effective new applications as well as policy support and mandates to scale up demand, according to a top executive of ACME Group.
Ahead of his participation at the World Utilities Congress 2023 in Abu Dhabi, Ashwani Dudeja, President & Director (Green Hydrogen and Ammonia) of ACME Group, spoke to Energy Connects on a wide range of topics – including commissioning the world’s first large scale green hydrogen and ammonia project, the challenges of long-term bankable offtake contracts, and bringing sustainability to hard-to-abate sectors.
Could you tell us more about ACME Group and what are the ways in which the company is helping accelerate the energy transition?
ACME Group is at the forefront of energy transition promoting the use of green hydrogen and ammonia as an alternative to fossil fuels. We are developing several green hydrogen and ammonia projects in Oman, India, Egypt and USA. At the same time, we are actively engaged with the end users, OEMs, leading industry associations and regulatory bodies to accelerate the adoption of green hydrogen through incentives, mandates, and technological solutions. We are already one of the largest solar IPPs in India and have contributed towards the reduction of carbon emissions in India.
Our small-scale green hydrogen and ammonia project in Bikaner, Rajasthan is the world’s first fully integrated project first-of-its-kind project and has been operating for more than a year. We aspire to maintain our leadership position by commissioning the world’s first large scale green hydrogen and ammonia project at Port of Duqm, Oman and contribute towards the global efforts in energy transition.
As a leading green energy provider, what are your thoughts on green ammonia?
The low hanging fruit for green ammonia utilisation is the fertilisers and chemicals industry where ammonia is already being consumed and we simply need to replace the grey ammonia with green. However, to scale up the demand for green ammonia, a number of new applications need to be developed. Marine bunkering is the easiest one under this category and several OEMs and shipping lines are already committed towards using green ammonia as a means of decarbonisation in the marine sector. There are a number of other applications like RTC power, heating and cooling where ammonia can be used directly as a replacement for fossil fuels. Last but not least, the demand of hydrogen from regions who do not have enough resources of their own (like land, solar radiation or wind) and have to rely on ammonia as a hydrogen carrier.
What is your outlook for the hydrogen sector?
Unlike ammonia, the immediate potential for hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels is in the mobility sector. While hydrogen is a great source of energy, the volumetric inefficiency of hydrogen would require new technologies and infrastructure for storage and logistics. The existing natural gas pipelines can theoretically be used, however more studies need to be done to understand the full impact on the carbon steel over long-term and modifications required to prevent any potential damage. In the longer run, as new infrastructure like 100% hydrogen pipelines, liquefaction (LH2), storage facilities and efficient ammonia cracking is developed, the adoption of hydrogen shall be exponential and will contribute significantly to the global net zero goals.
How is ACME Group bringing sustainability in hard-to-abate sectors such as food, agriculture, steel, shipping, cement, and aluminum?
We are working in each of these sectors together with the leading players to develop fit for purpose solutions. As an example, the mono-firing burner for industrial furnaces using green hydrogen or ammonia can replace the fossil fuels in the metals and cement industry. Similarly, the use of green ammonia in fertiliser sectors can help bring down the emissions from the agriculture sector significantly. As a green fuel producer, our aim is to bring down the cost and encourage the OEMs to develop technology solutions to ease the adoption for end users. However, the fact of the matter is that green fuels can’t compete with fossil fuels on purely economic basis and hence need policy support in form of subsidies and mandates. The recent tender by Hint.co in Germany is another way in which Governments can support the early adoption of green fuels by industry.
Could you share more details about your green hydrogen projects in India and Oman? What are the key challenges you envision in the sector’s growth globally?
We are developing a 1.2 MTPA fully integrated green ammonia project at port of Duqm, Oman with the COD for first phase of 0.1 MTPA in early 2025. There are a couple of projects in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu (southeast coast) and Odisha (east coast) of similar capacity, for which we have obtained the initial approvals from the respective state government and are now working on the land acquisition, FEED and other approvals and permits.
The biggest challenge for all these projects is the long-term bankable offtake contracts, which in turn are largely dependent on the policies and regulations in various countries. IRA in US and REDIII in EU have laid a framework to incentivise production and mandate consumption of green hydrogen and now it is for the countries and corporates to come forward and make commitments which will enable the project financing of these highly capex intensive projects.
What are you particularly looking forward to at the World Utilities Congress 2023? How important is this event in shaping the future of global energy?
The World Utilities Congress 2023 is a key event in this region, where energy producers, consumers and policy makers get together under one roof and take a 360-degree approach towards shaping a sustainable future for the energy sector. We are pleased to be part of the 2023 Congress and are looking forward to rich engaging discussions, partnership opportunities and sharing and learning from each other’s experiences.
Click here to register and attend the World Utilities Congress 2023, that runs from 8-10 May in Abu Dhabi.
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