China’s giant new hydrogen plant to power Olympics fuel cell EVs

One of the world’s largest green hydrogen plants has started production to power 600 fuel-cell vehicles during the Beijing Winter Olympics as part of China’s efforts to decarbonize its transportation sector. 

The power-to-hydrogen electrolyzer facility has 20 megawatts of capacity, according to a statement by Shell Plc, which created a joint venture for the project with a local partner at the Olympics co-host city Zhangjiakou. That makes it one of the largest after a 30-megawatt plant by Chinese coal-based chemical manufacturer Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group Co. and a 20-megawatt project by French gas company Air Liquide SA. 

The joint venture will supply half of the green hydrogen used for electric vehicles that run on fuel cells during Olympic events in the region, Shell said. There are plans to expand capacity to 60 megawatts in the next two years, and the facility will supply clean fuel transportation in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region after the games. 

To be sure, the pilot project will only cover a fraction of China’s total energy demand during the games. And producing green hydrogen with current technology is far more expensive than electricity generated from coal and natural gas.

China has approved massive hydrogen projects as the country pursues decarbonization to meet its climate goals. The biggest projects so far are from high-emission companies in the oil, chemical, or steel sectors. Top solar companies including Longi Green Energy Technology Co. have also rushed into the manufacture of electrolyzers, the equipment needed to make green hydrogen, the cleanest form of the fuel.

China’s hydrogen market may reach 1 trillion yuan ($157 billion) by 2025 and 12 trillion yuan by 2050, according to Bloomberg Intelligence

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Dear user, please be aware that we use cookies to help users navigate our website content and to help us understand how we can improve the user experience. If you have ideas for how we can improve our services, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to email us. By continuing to browse you agree to our use of cookies. Please see our Privacy & Cookie Usage Policy to learn more.