China Petrochemical Corp, also known as Sinopec, has commenced construction on the world’s largest integrated green hydrogen production project, according to an announcement made on Thursday. The massive project, which will be implemented at a coal chemical plant in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, is expected to have an annual green hydrogen production capacity of 30,000 tons.
In order to achieve this ambitious target, the project will leverage the abundant solar and wind resources available in the region to produce green hydrogen that will be used in the nearby coal processing demonstration project in the city of Ordos. This will enable the plant to further reduce carbon emissions, in line with the company’s commitment to pursuing sustainable practices.
Sinopec, the largest refiner in Asia by volume, aims to cement its position as China’s dominant hydrogen player this year by undertaking several projects across the hydrogen value chain, from upstream production to equipment manufacturing. The company is set to increase its green hydrogen manufacturing capacity while also expanding its refuelling network nationwide, with the objective of establishing itself as China’s biggest hydrogen firm.
In 2021, Sinopec began constructing a green hydrogen plant with an annual production capacity of 20,000 tons in Kuqa, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The project, which cost 3 billion yuan (approximately $434 million), includes the construction of hydrogen storage tanks and a hydrogen pipeline network. The hydrogen it produces will be supplied to Sinopec’s Tahe refinery to replace its current gas-to-hydrogen facilities. The project is expected to start production in 2023.
China has made a public commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060, and the production of green hydrogen is set to play a critical role in achieving this target. Hydrogen is seen as a viable alternative to fossil fuels, and green hydrogen, which is produced using renewable energy, is considered to be a key component of the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Sinopec is not the only company in China that is pursuing hydrogen production. Competitor PetroChina has also set its sights on hydrogen, with a goal of producing 50,000 tons of hydrogen annually by 2025. The company is set to build a 10-megawatt solar-powered hydrogen production plant in the desert region of Inner Mongolia, with the intention of supplying the gas to local chemical and refining facilities.
The global hydrogen market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years as more countries seek to decarbonise their economies. Analysts predict that China will play a leading role in this growth, due to the country’s abundant solar and wind resources, its large domestic market, and government support for green hydrogen projects.