Zhang Yuzhuo, the chairman of Chinese state oil and chemical firm Sinopec, has told a Chinese television show that the company is planning to become China’s leading hydrogen company.
‘It’s our goal to become the no.1 hydrogen enterprise in China, to achieve a systematic layout of the entire hydrogen energy industry chain that will make hydrogen refuelling as convenient as gas refuelling,’ Zhang told CCTV’s Dialogue programme.
Sinopec already produces 3.5 million tpa of hydrogen, around 14% of the national total. Zhang and Sinopec believe that hydrogen will be critical for future energy technologies and industrial development, and to achieve carbon neutrality. Sinopec has selected hydrogen as its main focus in respect of new energy business development, and will seek to establish China’s first hydrogen energy company.
Sinopec already has extensive experience in the transport, storage, refuelling and use of hydrogen, including three long-distance hydrogen pipelines, and mature industrial by-product hydrogen, coal-to-hydrogen, and natural gas-to-hydrogen technologies. Its next step will be developing water electrolysis technology to produce green hydrogen. Its New Energy Research Institute has already built a hydrogen purification, electrolysis and fuel cell technology research and development platform.
Sinopec’s research and development investments are bearing fruit. Subsidiary Gaoqiao Petrochemical started up a hydrogen production demonstration device in September 2020, which produces 99.999% pure hydrogen, using a highly selective adsorbent developed by the Dalian Institute. Subsidiaries Yanshan Petrochemical and Guangzhou Petrochemical have started up a 2,000 m3/h high-purity hydrogen demonstration project for fuel cell vehicles. In April 2021, another subsidiary, Hainan Refinery and Chemical, opened the first hydrogen filling facility in Hainan Province.
In its most recent five-year plan, Sinopec set out plans to build 100 hydrogen refuelling stations in 2021, and 1,000 in the next five years. Also under the plan, Sinopec will build a 1 million tonne green hydrogen demonstration project, for which preliminary work has begun.
‘In the future, Sinopec will gradually expand our hydrogen energy operations as well as other renewable energy sources to advance the development of a combined petroleum, gas, hydrogen, electric and non-petroleum service,’ said Zhang.