Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) has chosen Honeywell UOP’s pressure swing absorption (PSA) technology to supply high-quality hydrogen (H2) at five of its refineries.

H2 is essential to the refining process, where it is used to decontaminate oil and facilitate catalytic processes that produce clean-burning fuels, including those that meet the Indian government’s strict Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) environmental standards, the US-based company explained. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Honeywell UOP will provide new PSA units to IOCL refineries at Gujarat, Panipat, and Mathura, and will upgrade existing H2 plants with UOP’s Polybed™ PSA technology at refineries in Haldia, Guwahati and Gujarat. Together, the six projects will generate 166,000 tonnes per year of new H2 capacity, representing an almost 30 percent increase for IOCL.

“Honeywell UOP’s H2 technology is part of IOCL’s efforts to produce BS-VI fuels before the end of 2019,” said Mike Banach, Regional General Manager for Honeywell UOP India. “This is a project of national importance to help India reduce pollution and improve its quality of life.”

IOCL chose Honeywell UOP technology due to its performance, superior economics and ability to meet an aggressive delivery schedule driven by India’s BS-VI emissions standards. UOP PSA technology features new UOP adsorbents that recover high levels of H2. The project includes a substantial amount of Indian-made components and domestic fabrication, in line with the government’s “Make in India” programme.

When the project is completed, the additional H2 produced each year will have a value to IOCL of about $400m.

” H2 is as essential to refining as oil, and it’s generated on-purpose and as a by-product of refining processes,” Banach said. “The PSA technology recovers and purifies this H2 so it can be used elsewhere in the refinery to remove impurities and to perform catalytic processes that transform crude oil into clean fuels and other products.”