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Business News/ Companies / News/  John Cockerill eyes India as export hub

John Cockerill eyes India as export hub

The firm plans to make its proposed 2-GW JV facility with Greenko a major electrolyzer exports hub

John Cockerill Group chief executive Francois Michel.Premium
John Cockerill Group chief executive Francois Michel.

New Delhi: Belgium-headquartered engineering major John Cockerill Group aims to make its proposed electrolyzer plant in the country a hub for exports of the apparatus, and the group also intends to venture into defence manufacturing.

In an interview, Francois Michel, chief executive, John Cockerill Group, said that “several hundred million dollars" would go into the electrolyzer plant. In April 2022, Mint reported that about $500 million would be invested in the project.

The company plans to invest more in the green hydrogen space in India, and make its planned 2-GW joint venture facility with Greenko a major hub for electrolyzer exports. The plant is expected to be commissioned within the next two years, he said.

“In terms of the hydrogen market, we are developing one hub to produce those electrolyzer systems. We have one operation in China today, one in Europe, we just bought a plant in Houston to set up one in North America, and we are investing here in India to cover India and the neighbouring countries. The plant here in India will be the largest in the world," he said.

“We plan to export electrolyzers, but the demand we have already lined up in India is already sufficient to fill up the plant. So, the big question for me will be how much more acceleration do I put in India. If you take the current scheme of things, already if I have 2 GW coming in two years, it will not be too bad. Given the size of the country, it will still be insufficient, but then we will invest more and we will ramp it up," he said

In March 2022, Greenko Group and John Cockerill signed an agreement to exclusively partner in market development initiatives for green hydrogen electrolyzers in the Indian sub-continent.

The two companies had then said in a joint statement that the agreement would accelerate the deployment of the green hydrogen ecosystem in India, and will enable to build a gigawatt electrolyzer manufacturing plant, expandable to a multi gigawatt scale, to serve the local market.

On John Cockerill’s plans to enter the defence manufacturing segment in India that has the world’s second-largest army, he said that the company was looking at manufacturing defence equipment, both for the domestic and export markets, along with an Indian partner.

The company is a major player in production of light tanks.

Michel was of the view that India is best suited for green hydrogen production with the availability of low-cost renewable energy. “We will grow very fast in India in this hydrogen path. India will have the cheapest base in the world to produce green hydrogen, because India has the cheapest renewable electricity, which is about 60-70% of the cost of green hydrogen, because India is very good at integrating technologies such as EVs, such as green hydrogen with very strong EPC companies."

Michel also said that the joint venture between John Cockerill and French technology firm Technip Energies, named Rely, a provider of integrated and competitive green hydrogen solutions, is also setting up its operations in India.

The green hydrogen space in India is attracting significant investor interest after the government came up with the National Green Hydrogen Mission last year with an aim to produce 5 million tonnes green hydrogen per annum by 2030.

Fertilizer makers, refineries, and steel makers are expected to be the key consumers of green hydrogen.

The company also provides equipment to the steel industry and is supplying decarbonization technologies for the sector which is a big polluter.


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Rituraj Baruah
Rituraj Baruah is a special correspondent covering energy, housing, urban affairs, heavy industries and small businesses at Mint. He has reported on diverse sectors over the last eight years including, commodities and stocks market, insolvency and real estate; with previous stints at Cogencis Information Services, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) and Inc42.
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Published: 18 Feb 2024, 11:39 PM IST
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