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Guangdong wants 200 hydrogen refueling stations by 2025

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Guangdong, a province in southeastern China, wants to install 200 hydrogen refueling stations, have 10,000 hydrogen fuel cell cars (FCEVs) on the road, and supply 100,000 mt/year of hydrogen supplies by 2025, according to an announcement made by the provincial administration on August 12.

In a published action plan, the provincial economic planner Guangdong Development and Reform Commission outlined the objectives. The objective of the three-year action plan (2022-2025) is to “make Guangdong a global leader in FCEV technology and applications.”

The action plan advocated retrofitting the conventional refueling stations by upgrading them with hydrogen refueling capabilities, particularly the refueling stations along the main thoroughfares of heavily used highways.

According to the proposal, the Guangdong government also permitted industrial businesses to create hydrogen refueling stations for their own exclusive usage.

China Hydrogen Alliance, a think tank supported by the Chinese government, predicts that the country would have 1,000 hydrogen fuel cell cars by 2025, servicing 100,000 FCEVs with an annual need of 390,000 metric tons of hydrogen (CHA).

Guangdong will account for 10% of the nation’s FCEV fleet, 20% of hydrogen refueling stations, and 26% of hydrogen supply, according to CHA’s forecasts, assuming the province meets the government’s goals on schedule.

As of 2021, Guangdong is one of China’s most developed provinces, with the greatest GDP. It is also one of the busiest cross-province logistics hubs in China. Guangdong’s refining and petrochemical sectors are reasonably mature and well-organized, and the province has become the nation’s testing ground for different decarbonization technologies.

The action plan also states that the Guangdong government aims to cultivate FCEV enterprises that are internationally competitive and to enable technological advancements for key FCEV components, such as fuel cell stacks, membrane electrodes, bipolar plates, proton exchange membranes, catalysts, carbon papers, air compressors, and hydrogen circulation systems.

Scale efficiencies

As a result of achieving economies of scale, the retail price of hydrogen for FCEVs in Guangdong is projected to fall to Yuan 30/kg (about $4.4/kg) by 2025.

China’s oil giant Sinopec predicts that, on a national scale, hydrogen fuel for FCEV would be cost-competitive with fuels used in conventional cars by 2030. It was also said that the cost threshold for hydrogen fuel to be competitive with petroleum would be Yuan 34 per kilogram (about $5 per kilogram).

This indicates that if the Guangdong government’s aim is realized, the province would be able to achieve cost competitiveness between hydrogen and petroleum by 2025.

The provincial action plan does not explain the sources of the 100,000 metric tons per year of hydrogen supply that are envisioned. The majority of China’s hydrogen generation still relies on carbon-intensive coal.

China’s first national hydrogen development plan, issued earlier this year, outlines the nation’s intention to increase its capacity for creating renewables-based, water electrolytic hydrogen or “green hydrogen” by exploiting its fast rising solar and wind power generation capacities. The national goal is to construct 100,000-200,000 metric tons (mt) per year of green hydrogen supply by 2025.

It is anticipated that the majority of FCEVs in China would be commercial vehicles, like as trucks and public buses. In 2060, 85% of the hydrogen-powered fleet will be comprised of commercial vehicles, while just 15% will be comprised of passenger vehicles, according to CHA’s projections.

Commercial vehicles often have scheduled routes and larger fuel consumption per vehicle, making it easier to construct hydrogen refueling networks and leverage the infrastructure of existing filling stations.

According to CHA’s interim-phase predictions, China will have 1,2 million FCEVs — primarily commercial cars — on the road by 2035, and the overall demand for hydrogen fuel would be around 3,94 million metric tons per year.

According to local media sources, the towns of Foshan and Yunfu in Guangdong have already implemented hydrogen-powered public buses.

Nedim Husomanovic

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