China outlines hydrogen energy development to 2035

March 28, 2022

Refuelling a vehicle serving the 2022 Winter Olympics with green hydrogen at a hydrogen refuelling station in Yanqing district, Beijing, which is the first petrol-hydrogen combined station established by Sinopec Beijing Oil Products Company in Yanqing district (Courtesy Hu Qingming/People’s Daily Online)

Chinese authorities have released a plan for the development of hydrogen energy until 2035, reports China’s Xinhuanet and Peoples Daily Online. Annual hydrogen production from renewable energy (green hydrogen) is expected to reach 100,000-200,000 tonnes, becoming an important part of new hydrogen energy consumption by 2025 and enabling carbon dioxide emission reduction of one to two million tonnes per year.

In its 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), which was jointly formulated by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and National Energy Administration (NEA), the ownership of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in China will be increased to around 50,000 by 2025 and a batch of hydrogen refuelling stations will be built across the country.

China is currently the largest hydrogen producer in the world, with an annual production capacity of 40 million tonnes per year, and an annual output of about 33 million tonnes, but most of this hydrogen comes from fossil fuels. As hydrogen is becoming an important basis for alternative-energy applications, this production is something the government hopes to change.

“Against the backdrop of carbon peaking and neutrality, developing hydrogen from fossil energy is obviously not the main direction. Hydrogen produced from renewable sources will become an important aspect in the future,” said Gan Yong, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Many local governments have been reported to see this market potential. In August last year, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology said the capital city plans to have five to eight hydrogen energy enterprises with international influence by 2023.

Shanghai plans to have nearly one hundred hydrogen stations and 10,000 vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells by 2023, while Guangdong has proposed the promotion of the large-scale application of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and the accelerated construction of hydrogen refuelling stations. Three hundred hydrogen stations are also planned for the Pearl River Delta.

By 2025, it is expected that China will put in place a relatively complete hydrogen energy industry development system, with innovation capability significantly improved and the core technologies and manufacturing processes mastered, according to the plan jointly released by the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration.

Per the released plan, China will aim for an industrial roll-out by 2030, expanding hydrogen production from renewable energy in support of its carbon reduction goals. By 2035, the proportion of hydrogen produced from renewable energy in terminal energy consumption is expected to increase significantly, thus playing an important supporting role in the country’s green energy transformation.

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