India Energy Outlook 2021
According the International Energy Agency, an oil and gas industry information association special report “ India Energy Outlook 2021, (https://www.iea.org/reports/india-energy-outlook-2021) is set to experience the largest increase in energy demand over the next 20 years.
India has started activities and is poised to develop large scale energy infrastructure utilizing wind, solar, natural gas and hydrogen as alternate energy sources to replace fossil fuels like – diesel and petrol, and mitigate atmospheric pollution and climate changes. Continuing the use of diesel and petrol is no more an option.
As India builds out its gas infrastructure, natural gas can find multiple uses in India’s energy system, including to help meet air quality and near‐term emissions goals as promised in the Paris Agreement. But to meet a Sustainable Development Scenario, we also underline the need for a long‐term vision for gas needs and also incorporate a growing role for biogases and low‐carbon hydrogen, for which India has large potential starting immediately.
Considering the road transportation system alone, the alternate fuel energy use and demand alone will reach formidable level. Indian government expects over 1 million vehicles registered to use alternate fuel, particularly Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
To harness large scale energy to meet the upcoming demand, natural gas, a fossil fuel which is a lesser pollution causing fuel, is the short and intermediate term solution and can be developed for a long-term solution too. In fact, for many years compressed natural gas is used as an alternative fuel for automobiles, marine craft, and many electricity generating facilities. According to the alternate fuel vehicle data (http://www.iangv.org/current-ngv-stats/), as of December 2019, there are over 28 million registered motor vehicles powered with compressed natural gas (CNG).
India has committed to build and progress immediately, 10 Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals to receive imported natural gas as a necessary natural gas supply chain. The combination of a growing and industrializing economy and an expanding and increasingly urban population will drive energy use higher, providing an unending opportunity for innovation, development and manufacturing of compressed Gas – CNG storage and transportation components and facilities for the next few generations to come. It is encouraging to see large multi-national gas companies like the Adani Group, Torrent Group, Petronet LNG, GAIL, Mahanagar Gas, amongst others have committed funding for these projects.
The missing link to implementation in the transportation system is safe distribution of gas to the end users, bulk and heavy gas storage devices /systems and establishing fueling stations. CNG can be efficiently transported in pressure vessels (tanks, cylinders) at high pressures. At present, a somewhat inefficient system to transport gaseous fuels, over 98 percent of the CNG cylinders are steel cylinders. The are well in excess of 2 or 3 million cylinders/ cascades in service and the future demand will more than double in 5~7 years. It is very important to improve transportation efficiency by using advanced technologies. Use of light weight composite cylinders, can be designed for much higher service pressures, and used in both storage and developing transportation logistics.
To realize any level of achievement, many issues including promoting innovation and startup enterprises, central and state government policies and incentives as well as safety regulations must keep pace so that faster adaptation of natural gas is desirable and possible.
India must go down this path to meet internationally committed climate change goals, achieve sustainable economic growth for the next few decades. At the same time India must develop renewable natural gas and hydrogen to improve economics of alternate energy resources and further impact the mitigation of pollution.