scorecardJamnagar is going green but on the back of its oil and chemicals business
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Jamnagar is going green but on the back of its oil and chemicals business

Jamnagar is going green but on the back of its oil and chemicals business
Business3 min read
BCCL
  • Mukesh Ambani said that its new energy foray is by far ‘more ambitious, transformational, and global in scope than anything RIL ever did’.
  • Ambani announced his plans to set up a new giga factory for power electronics at Jamnagar in addition to photovoltaic panels, energy storage, green hydrogen and fuel cell systems.
  • For its solar PV manufacturing business, RIL said that it has natural synergies with its chemical and materials business.
  • It’s Jamnagar SEZ is an export oriented business that drives
The world’s sixth largest refinery complex at Gujarat’s Jamnagar will now become the focal point of the many green energy plans of Reliance Industries.

In his speech during the 45th annual general meeting of the company, chairman Mukesh Ambani said that its new energy foray is by far “more ambitious, transformational, and global in scope than anything Reliance has ever done before”.

As it is creating a manufacturing ecosystem, RIL is planning to establish four giga factories at the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex at Jamnagar, with an investment of ₹75,000 crore. In addition to plans to enable at least 100 gigawatts of solar energy by 2030, it will establish capacities for photovoltaic panels, energy storage, green hydrogen and fuel cell systems.

At the AGM, Ambani announced his plans to set up a new giga factory for power electronics. It’s the key component that links the entire value chain of green energy with affordable and reliable power electronics.

“We are building significant capabilities in design and manufacturing of power electronics and software systems, integrating with our capabilities of telecommunications, cloud computing and IoT platform,” said Ambani.

Being ‘close’ to O2C biz to drive cost efficiencies

The location of the new energy business at Jamnagar is important since its cost effectiveness is tied to its refinery and oil to chemicals business. It acquired solar panel manufacturer REC and is setting up a 10GW solar PV cell and is setting up a module factory at Jamnagar, which is expected to commence production by 2024.

Apart from increasing the efficiency of the panels, RIL also intends to extend the lifespan of panels from the current 25 years to 50 years. The 'quartz-to-module' facility claims to start with quartz which will be converted into metallurgical silicon and multiple phases to integrate the polysilicon with cells and PV modules.

“Further, we will invest in glass and POE in manufacturing – both having natural synergies with our chemical and materials business. This will provide supply security, unparalleled cost advantage, and ability to capture chain margins with maximum recycling,” said Ambani, spelling out how the synergies will make it cheaper and greener.

Disrupting the battery sector with chemistry

Its oil and chemicals business will also help the company create an end-to-end battery ecosystem – from battery materials to cell manufacturing, leading up to packs and battery management System (BMS). Its objective is to deliver safe and reliable batteries with high energy density and fast charging capabilities.

However unlike most other battery makers, the company also intends to disrupt the sector with ‘superior chemistry’ and with nil dependence on noble metals that can ensure their supply chain security.

Currently, most noble metals that can withstand oxidation at high temperatures and hence used in batteries face supply chain issues and they are mostly based in China.

Integration also aids its growth and ability to experiment. For one, it’s planning to set-up 20 GW of solar energy capacity – all of which will be consumed towards its green hydrogen. Since RIL is already a large producer of grey hydrogen that uses thermal or gas-based power this solar plan will help turn it green, that’s produced using renewable energy sources.

“Once proven at scale, we are prepared to double the investment to scale up our manufacturing ecosystem,” Ambani said.

Since green hydrogen can be exported, its location at the export oriented Jamnagar can help aid the company’s global ambitions in establishing a new-age energy business, from the same spot it once backward integrated from yarn to plastics to a refinery, decades back.

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