Sinopec, China’s state-owned oil company, has signed a strategic co-operation framework agreement with Great Wall Holdings, a domestic automaker, to produce hydrogen energy.
The two companies will collaborate closely in the areas of hydrogen energy industrialization, technology research and development, and capital operations. The step is intended to encourage the growth of a high-quality hydrogen industry in China.
According to Sinopec president Zhang Yuzhuo, the company plans to construct 1,000 hydrogen refueling stations, 5,000 charging stations and power battery exchange stations, and 7,000 distributed photovoltaic power stations by 2025.
The International Hydrogen Energy Committee has welcomed Great Wall Holdings as the first Chinese automaker. According to Zhang, the company has advanced hydrogen technology research and development capabilities. Great Wall sold 1.1 million pickup trucks and SUVs in 2020, up 4.7 percent from the previous year and the fifth year in a row since 2016.
According to Great Wall Holdings president Wei Jianjun, the partnership will provide more growth opportunities for the domestic hydrogen industry, encourage the development and breakthrough of hydrogen energy technology, and lead to the country’s “carbon neutrality” vision being realized sooner. Sinopec declared in April that it intends to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, ten years ahead of the national target.
In April, the company also signed a strategic co-operation agreement with Nio, a manufacturer of new energy vehicles (NEVs), to construct power battery exchange stations in the coming years. On April 15, the company’s first power battery exchange station, Chaoying, opened in Beijing.
Sinopec has also partnered with Longi Renewable Energy Technology, a solar producer, to create green hydrogen ventures. Green hydrogen is created by electrolysis, which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable energy sources.
According to China’s Automotive Manufacturers Association, China manufactured 750,000 NEVs, including fuel-cell vehicles, in January-April this year, up 257 percent from the previous year. Demand for some battery metals, especially nickel, as well as a few rare earth metals like lanthanum and cerium, is expected to rise as hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles become more common.