China is now home to one of the biggest hydrogen electrolyzers on the planet

China is now home to one of the biggest hydrogen electrolyzers on the planet

February 3, 2022 3 By Julie Campbell

According to Shell, the green H2 facility is located in the country’s Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province.

Shell (LON stock symbol RDSA) has announced that “one of the largest” hydrogen electrolyzers in the world – at 20 megawatts – is now operational.

The equipment has begun operation in the Chinese city of Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province.

This new additional to the largest hydrogen electrolyzers will be used for the production of green H2. That fuel will be used for powering fuel cell vehicles that will be used in the city’s Winter Olympics competition zone. The facility has opened in time to power the H2 vehicles ahead of the opening of the Games on February 4. Once the Games are over, the facility will provide H2 to power commercial and public transport.

Director of Shell integrated gas, renewable and energy solutions Wael Sawan described the facility as “the largest in our portfolio to date.” The energy giant views the new plant as promising across many levels of the supply chain. “We see opportunities across the hydrogen supply chain in China, including its production, storage and shipping,” said Sawan.

This facility is part of a joint hydrogen electrolyzers venture between Shell China and Zhangjiakou.

The facility is a component of a joint venture Shell China signed with the Zhangjiakou City Transport Construction Investment Holding Group Co. Ltd. in 2020. This particular component of the joint venture is focused on producing green H2 powered by renewable energy. In this case, the renewable energy for this H2 production will come from onshore wind power, according to Shell.

This is viewed as an important step forward for green hydrogen electrolyzers as the majority of H2 production at the moment is powered by fossil fuels.

The green H2 sector has faced a wealth of challenges in efforts to roll it out for mainstream use. Among them, some of the most common have been the cost of its production, as well as the lack of refuelling infrastructure. Among other factors, these have played a substantial role in giving battery electric vehicles a head-start advantage.

More large hydrogen electrolyzers can help to scale up green H2 while bringing costs down.

Many analysts and energy industry leaders feel that green hydrogen electrolyzers remain the path to the fuel of the future. It is merely a matter of time before the technology is fined tuned enough and until there are enough facilities producing it at scale that the price can be reduced. Should these efforts be combined with support from governments, such as in the form of grants and subsidies, the progress will only accelerate.

Hydrogen electrolyzers - Cost Down

While there is little doubt of the value of hydrogen fuel itself, the key is often seen as the ability to be able to produce it with emission-free power – such as wind and solar – in order to make it a true component of a broader decarbonization strategy. Currently natural gas and other fossil fuels – even coal – are by far the largest energy sources powering H2 production.

The launch of the operation of large hydrogen electrolyzers lays the groundwork for broader potential use of clear H2.

“In the end, all hydrogen needs to be green, because green hydrogen is the only fuel which is … fully decarbonized,” said RWE CEO Markus Krebber. Until then, he stated that all industries need to make their choices for investing in new facilities so they will be “H2 ready”.

About Shell

Shell Plc is a publicly traded gas and oil company traded on a multinational level but that has its headquarters in London, United Kingdom at the Shell Centre. Its deal with Zhangjiakou City Transport Construction Investment Holding Group Co. Ltd. makes its facility in China one of the largest hydrogen electrolyzers currently operating in the world.