From a dark coal mining belt to a bright global green hydrogen center….
A leap forward in China’s green hydrogen development, the plan for a renewable energy mega-project for green hydrogen has received green lights late last month for construction in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the central-north of China.
The plan includes a cluster of green hydrogen productions be built in the cities of Ordos and Baotou, producing approximately 66,900 tons of green hydrogen annually.
The required energy for these productions are coming from 1.85 GW of solar power and 370 MW of wind power present and to be built in the Inner Mongolia region. The first phase is scheduled to be ready for operation by mid-2023.
China’s 14th Five Year Plan (2021-2025) has labeled the hydrogen industry as one of China's six industries of the future. This does not only include the production of green hydrogen, transition from grey to green hydrogen but also the developments of infrastructure, storage and transport (pipelines and others) and the hydrogen energy compatible application technologies (fuel cells and others).
What makes green hydrogen a big deal is the diversity and expansion of its potential uses to reach the carbon neutral ambitions. Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced by using renewable-powered electricity. The far majority of today’s hydrogen is still produced from coal and fossil fuels.
On one hand green hydrogen is the solution for applications and industries which are hard to connect to electrification or the grid and on the other hand it is a unique consumption source for solar and wind energy as these renewables are limited to connect to the grid but you cannot directly fuel a car or plane with solar or wind energy. Also high heat industries such as metals, cement, chemicals and others are hard to directly electrify.
Green hydrogen is like the new green oil or lubricant, a portable source of stand-alone energy for an immense diversity of applications. Though major challenges need to be tackled; costs, infrastructure and technology adaptations. Countries embracing, investing, working and tackling these technological challenges in integrated and active manner will have a distinctive advantage in this century ahead.
Inner Mongolia’s ambition is to shift from one of China’s major coal mining areas to a leading global renewable energy production center in coming decades. China is targeting to reach about 15 percent of renewable hydrogen energy generation by 2030.