China may begin utilizing hydrogen energy the same way it ventured solar energy

Hydrogen is progressively taking strides in the energy sector as an alternative energy source for countries detaching from fossil fuel energy. The International Energy Agency outlined that the international hydrogen generation has increased from 0.04 million tonnes a decade ago to the current 0.36 million tonnes. The agency anticipates the figure to clock 1.45 million tonnes in the next two years. Additionally, the cost of obtaining hydrogen power is reducing at a supersonic rate and will reach $2 for a kilogram in the next four years. This trend comes at an appropriate time whereby strategies like the Paris Climate agreement taking shape in the industry.

China is among the countries that are exploring hydrogen energy as an alternative replacement for coal energy that has supported its energy sector for quite a long time. China’s hydrogen energy production is equivalent to a third of the global production, meeting a tenth of the country’s energy demands. However, China spends the best portion of this energy on industrial and chemical operations. Nevertheless, the country is developing new programs that will ensure this energy enters other energy-consuming projects that they did not consider. A detailed report by Mengdi Yue and Christoph Nedopil Wang of the Green Belt and Road Initiative Center revealed that China installed 61 hydrogen refill stations, created a hydrogen power tram, and operated an aircraft running on hydrogen. Yue explained that China is hastening the research on this source of energy in Guangdong province while preparing to implement the projects in other areas.

The government and investors have towered their support in hydrogen energy with plans like the 2019 Green Industry Guiding Catalogue, created by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission, clearing the pathway for the exploration of hydrogen energy and its storage technology. Projects like the hydrogen energy vehicles and green ships stipulated in the catalog align the transportation sector towards clean energy to meet the Paris climate agreement targets. Hydrogen energy could be the next step forward for China to reduce its dependence on coal-fired power plants. Moreover, the country explores how this energy can be stored for future use and to maintain a constant flow.

Nevertheless, the country must be ready to drop grey hydrogen and take up green hydrogen since the former is equally emissive as fossil fuels. Grey hydrogen is a product of natural gas through the steam methane reformation process. This type of hydrogen energy is the most available because it emanates from fossil fuels. Yue noted that the challenges facing hydrogen production might also include the high infrastructure cost for supplying it to the market.