• Sinopec Green Hydrogen Pilot Project Enters Operation, Leading China’s Green Hydrogen Development

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      Greg Kelsall

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) has announced that the Green Hydrogen Pilot Project constructed by the company in Kuqa City in Xinjiang region, has commenced operation. According to the company, the official operation of the plant, which uses solar energy to generate green hydrogen, marks a major stride forward in Sinopec’s technological exploration to produce clean hydrogen as it empowers the country to transition to a greener and more sustainable energy system.

Sinopec’s Xinjiang Kuqa Green Hydrogen Pilot Project

Lead by Sinopec’s New Star Company, the project is the largest solar-to-hydrogen project in China. It includes a photovoltaic power generation complex, power transmission and transformation lines, as well as facilities for water electrolysis based hydrogen production, hydrogen storage and transportation, and supporting auxiliary production.

The project takes advantage of the relatively high level of photovoltaic resources in Kuqa to achieve 20kt/y of green hydrogen production by using solar power to electrolyse water, together with the capacity to store 210,000 cubic metres of hydrogen and transport 28,000 cubic metres per hour.

The project will supply hydrogen to Sinopec’s Tahe Refining & Chemical to remove its fossil fuel-based electricity used for hydrogen production, which is expected to help it reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 485 ktCO2/y. Reuters reported that Sinopec began construction of the plant in Nov 2021, with an initial investment of about 3 billion yuan (over US$400m).

With a focus on hydrogen-powered transportation and green hydrogen refining, Sinopec aims to “launch itself to become a new energy powerhouse that pioneers hydrogen production innovation in China, facilitating China and beyond to achieve low-carbon targets in the coming years”.

This green hydrogen demonstration project by Sinopec appears to place them in a good position relative to other developers. For example, the recently announced project by Plug Power to build three green hydrogen and ammonia plants in Finland, as reported by IFRF, will not achieve a final investment decision until 2025 or 2026.