China’s state-owned PetroChina recently announced a “technological breakthrough” in the transportation of hydrogen through gas pipelines over long distances.
During a 100-day test, the company transported hydrogen through a 397-kilometer gas pipeline in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in north-central China. The proportion of hydrogen gradually reached 24% in the pipeline, which was the highest-ever for the transportation of hydrogen through gas pipelines both in China and abroad.
According to the company’s statement, the pipeline’s operation was “safe and stable,” and it is working towards achieving a 20% share of hydrogen in the entire gas network in the country. Currently, road transport remains the primary method of transporting hydrogen over long distances in China, with high costs and low efficiency. The length of gas pipelines in China is 185,000 kilometers, and the addition of hydrogen at a rate of 20% will transport more than 10 million tons of hydrogen based on China’s current consumption of natural gas. This amount of hydrogen is equivalent to more than 560 billion kWh of green electricity, and the cost of hydrogen will decrease significantly as the cost of pipeline transportation is only about 10% of the cost of transportation by road.
The transportation of hydrogen through gas pipelines in China is a significant technological advancement as it is much more cost-effective and efficient than transporting it by road. China is the world’s largest hydrogen producer, and this development will help the country achieve its carbon neutrality goals by 2060. In a separate report, Xinhua News Agency revealed that China plans to build a more than 400 km long hydrogen pipeline to efficiently pump clean fuel from the resource-rich west to the energy-consuming regions in the east. The project will be the country’s first trans-regional trunk hydrogen pipeline, which will be able to pump about 100,000 tons of hydrogen per year at the first stage.
In the long term, the capacity of the pipeline can be increased by 500,000 tons. Sinopec, China’s largest oil refiner, and operator of the project will build the pipeline, which will transport hydrogen from northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to Beijing. Once operational, deliveries from Inner Mongolia will replace the current production of hydrogen from fossil fuels in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. The project is part of the country’s oil and gas network construction plan released by the National Energy Administration in March. Sinopec is currently building two green H2 plants and is the largest hydrogen producer in China.