China has world’s largest green hydrogen production project

The world’s largest green hydrogen project, which generates hydrogen from solar and wind renewables without emitting carbon dioxide, produced its first batch of “green hydrogen” in June 2023 at Ordos, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in north China.

The green hydrogen process employs electrolysis from electricity generated from solar and wind energy to decompose water into hydrogen and oxygen, without emitting carbon dioxide.

China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) commenced construction in February 2023 of the integrated green hydrogen production project. The massive project, which was implemented at a coal chemical plant in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, is expected to have an annual green hydrogen production capacity of 30,000 tons.

In order to achieve this ambitious target, the project leverages the abundant solar and wind resources available in the region to produce green hydrogen that will be used in the nearby coal processing demonstration project in the city of Ordos. This will enable the plant to further reduce carbon emissions, in line with the company’s commitment to pursuing sustainable practices.

Sinopec, the largest refiner in Asia by volume, is consolidating its position as China’s dominant hydrogen player this year by undertaking several projects across the hydrogen value chain, from upstream production to equipment manufacturing.

The company is set to increase its green hydrogen manufacturing capacity while also expanding its refuelling network nationwide.

In 2021, Sinopec began constructing another green hydrogen plant with an annual production capacity of 20,000 tons in Kuqa, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The project, which cost 3 billion yuan (approximately $434 million), includes hydrogen storage tanks and a hydrogen pipeline network. The hydrogen it produces is supplied to Sinopec’s Tahe refinery to replace its gas-to-hydrogen facilities. The Kuqa project commenced production in July 2023, with hydrogen purity reaching 99.9 percent.

The green hydrogen process employs electrolysis from electricity generated from solar and
wind energy to decompose water into hydrogen and oxygen, without emitting carbon dioxide.

China has made a public commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060, and the production of green hydrogen is set to play a critical role in achieving this target. Hydrogen is seen as a viable alternative to fossil fuels, and green hydrogen, which is produced using renewable energy, is considered to be a key component of the transition to a low-carbon economy.

China aims to establish an ecosystem of diverse green hydrogen applications including transportation and energy storage. Green hydrogen’s portion of overall energy consumption is forecasted to expand dramatically, assisting China’s clean energy transition.

Sinopec is not the only company in China that is pursuing hydrogen production. Competitor PetroChina has also set its sights on hydrogen, with a goal of producing 50,000 tons of hydrogen annually by 2025. The company is set to build a 10-megawatt solar-powered hydrogen production plant in the desert region of Inner Mongolia, with the intention of supplying the gas to local chemical and refining facilities.

The global hydrogen market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years as more countries seek to decarbonise their economies. Analysts predict that China will play a leading role in this growth, due to the country’s abundant solar and wind resources, its large domestic market, and government support for green hydrogen projects.


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