China is purchasing every vote to capture the top spot in the production of hydrogen globally, a crucial fuel for decarbonizing industry and transportation. According to a recent analysis from the BloombergNEF research center, the Asian nation produces electrolysis equipment that can produce hydrogen at a cost that is four times cheaper than that of Europe and the US.
Without emitting gases that raise the planet’s temperature, hydrogen has the potential to be a fantastic tool for powering our vehicles, ships, and aircraft as well as our industries. However, this is dependent on lowering the cost of “green” hydrogen, which is generated without the use of fossil fuels like natural gas or coal.
One of the most used techniques in the business for extracting hydrogen is electrolysis. Water is split into oxygen and hydrogen using an electrical current in this process, which produces no hazardous emissions if the system is fueled by renewable resources. However, research from the US Department of Energy states that the cost of producing it may range from 5.96 dollars per kilo if wind energy is utilized to up to 13 dollars per kilo if solar energy is used. As a result, a number of innovative electrolysis systems and extraction techniques have emerged in recent years with the promise of lowering their cost.
According to research by the “think tank” on climate change known as the Energy Transitions Commission, these developments plus national investments might lower the price of green hydrogen in most regions to less than $2 per kilo by 2030. According to the paper, “in many locations, the future cost of green hydrogen might be lower than the present cost of gray hydrogen, which is often generated using natural gas. This would make the end cost of decarbonizing hydrogen production very cheap and possibly even negative.”
China’s dedication to hydrogen is known, though. Hydrogen was regarded as one of the six most significant future industries in the Asian nation’s 14th Five-Year Plan, which outlines its intentions through 2025. In reality, China wants 2025 to be the year of hydrogen, as we already mentioned in Novaceno. The “pretty full hydrogen energy industry development system” is what he hopes to have at that time. In addition to wanting to have 50,000 hydrogen-powered cars on the road, it hopes to manufacture between 100,000 and 200,000 tons of “green” hydrogen.
China wants to win this race as well.
According to Bloomberg, the latest study, which was based on a survey of 20 businesses in the industry, confirms that Chinese manufacturers have better-sophisticated supply chains for parts and raw materials as well as cheaper labor. It also makes note of the fact that China has long had a more significant electrolyzer manufacturing sector that existed prior to the green hydrogen boom. In particular, they claim, because of industrial demand in fields like the production of polysilicon used in electronics.
Thanks to inexpensive labor and supply from the local market, Chinese alkaline electrolysis systems generally cost 25% less than the same type of project in Western nations, according to the research. “By 2025, cost reductions of 30% are projected due to economies of scale, advanced technology, vertical integration, and declining manufacturer margins. Although the aforementioned effects could be offset by growing labor costs and raw material prices, such as metals, they might also be.
The solar energy industry has previously experienced what is occurring with hydrogen.
More political commitment and research
Finding more affordable hydrogen extraction methods is one strategy to counteract the Chinese advantage. The majority of this element is present in nature, but it is not in its pure form; rather, it is combined with other elements. Promising innovations in hydrogen generation techniques have been found in recent years, which might reduce our reliance on the Asian nation.
Just a few weeks ago, scientists from the University of California, Santa Cruz, unveiled a brand-new device that recovers significant volumes of hydrogen while using nearly little energy. As we’ve already said, scientists have discovered a brand-new way to extract hydrogen from water that is based on the powerful interaction between aluminum nanoparticles and a substance rich in gallium. The gallium can be recovered and reused numerous times by this process without losing its efficacy and may be made from inexpensive materials like aluminum foil or old cans.
We have also just observed more studies by South Korean scientists who have discovered an extraction technique that generates 20 times as much hydrogen as conventional techniques. Because it doesn’t do the electrolysis using materials like platinum, it is also far less expensive.
The States play a role in the industry’s adoption of these types of technologies. We previously reported on how US President Joe Biden gave tax benefits to firms that produce hydrogen, enabling them to extract at a more affordable price. Although more cautiously, Europe is similarly dedicated to hydrogen, and industry organizations have lobbied the Commission to loosen its laws. Employers claim that the goal is to prevent a “mass migration” of their “green” hydrogen sector to the US market.
China is investing heavily in order to dominate global hydrogen production, which is essential for decarbonizing transportation and industry. According to a recent report from the BloombergNEF research institute, Asia produces electrolysis systems that can produce hydrogen at a cost that is four times lower than that of Europe and the United States.