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Olympics demonstrate hydrogen applications

By Zhang Dandan Source: China Daily Updated: 2022-02-08


A hydrogen fuel cell bus pulls into a bus station in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province. [Photo/China News Service]

The use of fleets of hydrogen-fueled vehicles during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is further demonstrating the wider application of the green energy source, and will help in the acceleration of its development, according to industry experts.

Buses running on hydrogen fuel are not only helping to make the Olympics greener in terms of transportation, but are also showing China's achievements and breakthroughs made across the entire industrial chain, Securities Daily quoted Liu Xiaoyan, an industry analyst, as saying.

With hydrogen among the leading green energy applications used during the Winter Games, hydrogen energy vehicles will receive more attention and recognition, Liu added.

More than 1,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are being used for the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, according to hydrogen energy company Beijing SinoHytec.

The company itself has provided more than 700 vehicles equipped with fuel cell engines for the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Foton has provided 500 hydrogen fuel cell buses to the Games, to serve the Yanqing and Zhangjiakou venues.

The cold weather during the Winter Games poses a challenge for new energy vehicles. To this end, Foton said its buses are equipped with fourth-generation hydrogen fuel core technology.

PetroChina and Sinopec have built hydrogen refueling stations for the venues.

In September 2021, four hydrogen refueling stations built by Sinopec to serve the Winter Games were opened.

Among the four is one in Xiwanzi town, Chongli district, in Hebei's Zhangjiakou. It's only 15 kilometers away from the venue and is located at an important transport hub. The station, equipped with three hydrogen pumps, has a daily supply capacity of 1,000 kilograms.

China's first in-station hydrogen testing laboratory was opened in Chongli district in early January. The laboratory can test 13 typical indicators for hydrogen for fuel cells, which will help provide technical support for ensuring the quality, safety and reliability of hydrogen energy for the Winter Games.

"This large-scale pilot will help prove the stability and usability of hydrogen vehicles to society," said Wang Meiting, a researcher with Bank of China Research Institute. He added that hydrogen energy is a clean energy with great potential for development. However, due to its relatively higher cost, there is little space for large-scale promotion at present.

Wang added that since hydrogen energy vehicles require large initial investment and scientific research investment, only high-profile demonstrations and promotions can attract greater investment from all sides.

Since 2021, many provinces and cities have issued policies to promote the development of the hydrogen energy industry.

According to Beijing's work plan on developing the industry, by 2025, the capital will have a basis for large-scale promotion of the hydrogen energy industry; a relatively completed industrial system and supporting infrastructure; and will have cultivated 10-15 leading enterprises in the industrial chain with international influence.

In the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, a hydrogen energy industry chain worth more than 100 billion yuan ($15.83 billion) will be built by 2025, with 37 hydrogen refueling stations built and 10,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in use, according to the plan.

Lin Boqiang, head of Xiamen University's China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy, said at present, the development of hydrogen energy is still in its infancy and it is far from being in large-scale commercial use.

The current targeted applications of hydrogen energy vehicles are exploring their possibilities for wider use in the future, Lin said.

Lin predicted that hydrogen energy will be commercially available in China by around 2030.