China plans 400km hydrogen pipeline

China’s Sinopec is set to build a pipeline to transfer hydrogen from renewable energy projects in China’s northwestern Inner Mongolia region to cities in its east, according to a report in state media outlet Xinhua.

The pipeline will stretch 400km from Ulanqab in sparsely populated Inner Mongolia to the capital Beijing, and will have an initial capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year, said the report, citing Sinopec chairman Ma Yongsheng.

Ports will be built along the pipeline to allow access to new potential hydrogen sources, the report added.

While the country already operates pipelines for so-called ‘grey hydrogen’ produced from fossil fuel sources, the project is the country’s first ‘West to East’ green hydrogen transmission line, according to the report.

State-owned oil and gas giant Sinopec is China’s largest hydrogen producer. It announced this year it would build a green hydrogen plant in the Inner Mongolian city of Ordos, with a planned annual capacity of 30,000 tonnes. 

The company also launched a green hydrogen project in Kuqa in the western Xinjiang region in 2021.

The latest report follows an announcement last year by China of a plan to produce 100,000 to 200,000 tonnes of green hydrogen a year and have some 50,000 hydrogen-fuelled vehicles by 2025, as the country pursues an ambitious campaign to transition toward renewable energy.

Indeed, China’s commitment to hydrogen power cannot be disputed as present. Last month, in what was claimed to be a world-first, the country connected two hydrogen power stations to its electricity national grid.

China is now using two hydrogen power stations operated by China Southern Power Grid.

One of the stations, Nansha Smart Hydrogen Station, is located in Guangzhou City, south China’s Guangdong Province, and contains seven advanced solid hydrogen storage facilities.

The other hydrogen power station, located in Kunming City, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, has already stored 165 kilograms of hydrogen power.

The hydrogen storage can supply 2,300 kilowatt-hours of electricity during peak hours and generate power constantly for 23 hours.

“In the future, hydrogen power will account for an increasingly larger proportion in the power grid, while the proportion of green hydrogen will go up as well. The electro-hydrogen coupling technology will be one of the revolutionary technologies that drives the evolution of power system,” said Wang Chengshan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, at the time.