Gail India to sign an agreement with Bloom Energy to introduce fuel cell technology, which will be cost-effective for power generation in the long term.
State-owned Gail (India) Ltd said on Saturday it will tie up with California-based closely-held firm Bloom Energy Corp. on Monday to pursue natural gas-based fuel cell power generation, a new technology.
Gail said an agreement will be signed with the company in the presence of oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Gail chairman and managing director B.C. Tripathi and Bloom Energy chief executive K.R. Sridhar.
“This will explore long-term natural gas market potential for power generation.” Gail said without giving further details, which are expected on Monday. An invitation from Bloom Energy said its fuel cell technology could help the country move away from relying on fixed power infrastructure which is prohibitively capital intensive to “capital light and soft” infrastructure. Bloom Energy claims its technology converts fuel into electricity through a clean electro-chemical process, which can use a variety of fuels, including biogas.
Unlike traditional power generation, Bloom uses virtually no water and produces no unhealthy emissions, it stated. Gail, which is in the field of gas marketing and transportation, will benefit from a deeper gas market in the country.
At present, natural gas accounts for only about 6.5% of India’s primary energy mix dominated by coal and crude oil. The government is pursuing private investments into the entire value chain of gas, which is generating interest from firms such as Bloom Energy.
However, availability of gas is limited in the country and freight cost and currency exchange rate movements add to uncertainty in relying on liquefied natural gas imported from gas surplus countries.