Hydrogen in China
Please select the region you are interested in
Bigger Beijing region
Next to being the center of the Chinese government, the city of Beijing also hosts a variety of research institutes and head offices of big state-owned energy developers. These companies increasingly shift their investments towards the hydrogen domain.
- Last August Beijing released a new hydrogen five-year plan (2020-2025). It shows that Beijing aims to develop an international fuel cell vehicle supply chain, and to further industrialize the hydrogen sector. To give an idea of the ambitions: by 2025 China aims to have more than 10,000 fuel cell vehicles on the road and by 2050 hydrogen will account for over 10% of China’s energy system.
- In order to reach those goals the Chinese government designates certain areas as special zones where companies involved in the industrial supply chain (from equipment manufacturing and transportation to application demonstration zones) will be clustered together. This will also be expanded to the broader Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, whereby cross-regional collaboration is stimulated.
- An example of one of those areas is the Beijing Economic Development Zone. Within this areas there is a focus on the automotive industry and several (foreign) companies are already present in this area. Activities vary and there is a strong emphasis on R&D: in 2020 the United Fuel Cell System Research and Development (Beijing) Co., Ltd. was established. With this company six well-known automotive companies (Toyota Motor, FAW, Dongfeng, GAC, BAIC and Beijing Yihuatong) joined forces in the R&D hydrogen domain.
- Beijing is mostly surrounded by the province Hebei. Hebei is a wind rich province which makes it a strategic province for the production of green hydrogen. In 2020 the provincial government released a list of 43-hydrogen related projects and marked it is a key priority. Next to green hydrogen production sites, also demonstration and research projects are being executed. One project – implemented by a Chinese engineering company- aims to develop a long-distance pipeline project in Hebei, which will be the longest pipeline in China (145km).
- Hebei province is hosting the Winter Olympics next February and is seeing this as an opportunity to position itself as a global new energy frontrunner. The city-level government aims to make the city Zhangjiakou a first-class hydrogen energy city and an internationally well-known hydrogen energy capital by 2035. Investments will be made and the city’s cumulative output value of the energy and related industries are aimed at 170 billion RMB by 2035.
- Due to its large onshore wind capacity Zhangjiakou supplies green power to Beijing. However, it still has a lot of (unused) capacity left that could be used for the production of green hydrogen. Next to the production, also a lot of attention is being paid to the use of hydrogen in transportation. It is expected that the majority of vehicles being used during the Olympics will be hydrogen-driven.
- Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that Hebei province is an important province for the heavy iron & steel and petrochemical industries. With the increasing focus on decarbonizing these industries, it is likely that hydrogen will also play a growing role in these processes.
- The other northern provinces, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia, need to be mentioned since they have a lot of solar and onshore wind potential. In both provinces there are a lot of solar and onshore wind projects on-going and in the future it can be used for green hydrogen production. Nevertheless, both provinces are in the initial stage regarding hydrogen developments and are less active in this domain in comparison to Hebei.
Opportunities for Dutch companies
- At the moment hydrogen production in China is mainly from natural gas and coal (grey hydrogen). With the current decarbonisation ambitions, more attention is paid towards the production of green hydrogen and R&D is being conducted on the production of hydrogen with using renewable energy.
- Ensuring safety remains one of the biggest challenges with the application of hydrogen. Solutions to this are generally welcomed and there is a lot of interest in advanced storage and transfer-related technologies and innovations.
- During the past few years many companies and research institutes devoted their hydrogen activities towards the transportation sector. This is slowly changing and other sectors, such as the heavy industries, are receiving more attention. This can result in windows of opportunities for Dutch companies.
Paheerya Yushan, Senior Policy Advisor Economic Affairs, [email protected]
Yangtze River Delta Region (Shanghai)
In June 2020, Shanghai positioned first in the China ‘hydrogen urban competitiveness ranking’, which indicates which cities have the best hydrogen infrastructure, policies and commercial environment. It is the combination of government support, enterprises, universities, and 20 years of R&D that put Shanghai in the lead. Opportunities are not limited to Shanghai, but cover the whole Yangtze River Delta. This region hosts China's first R&D and demonstration areas for hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles FCVs, great hydrogen production potential and China’s largest chemical park.
- Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV) Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta region have formed a relatively complete hydrogen and fuel cell industry chain, with upstream hydrogen storage and transportation infrastructure, middle fuel cell stacks/systems, core component manufacturers and downstream industrial facilities. The local government is actively rolling out policies to further support FCV industry development. During the biggest FCV expo last June in Shanghai it was announced that Shanghai would take the lead in a major FCV multi-city demonstration zone covering Suzhou, Nantong, Jiaxing, Zibo, Ordos, and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, funded by the Ministry of Finance. As of September 2020, there are 1,955 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles running in Shanghai, which is planned to increase to 10.000 in 2023. Shanghai has currently 10 hydrogen refueling stations and plans to reach 30 stations by 2023, and 70 by 2025.
- Hydrogen Production In the Yangtze River Delta region, and especially in Jiangsu province, an increased focus on the production of green hydrogen with offshore wind energy is visible. Jiangsu province has the largest offshore wind capacity in China and plans to expand this even more in the upcoming five years. As part of the broader clean energy goals local Chinese authorities are looking at developing green hydrogen production sites at the offshore wind farms. This could provide opportunities for Dutch companies.
- Chemistry China does not only focus on hydrogen production from renewable resources, but also on hydrogen from industrial by- products. Shanghai has the country's largest chemical industry park (SCIP) which produces high volumes of hydrogen by-product. SCIP actively seeks opportunities to further exploit their hydrogen streams and together with China's largest automobile manufacturer, SAIC Motor, they opened the most-advanced refueling station of China in their park. Opportunities & challenges for Dutch companies.
Opportunities & challenges for Dutch companies
- Despite the long history of the region in FC development, the Netherlands is in many fields still technologically ahead. Chinese companies seek international collaborations to improve their products.
- Many international (including European) companies are already present in this region, meaning there is also international competition. For this reason, it might be easier for Dutch companies with an already proven track record.
- Dutch companies can also apply for subsidies as long as they work together with a local partner.
General introduction on the hydrogen sector in the South China region
Guangdong is the region in which most hydrogen companies are registered. The developments of hydrogen policies and projects in Guangdong are among the most advanced and mature in the country, mainly due to the much earlier start compared to other cities and regions. Within the Guangdong region there are three cities famous for their hydrogen developments. Foshan, Guangzhou and Maoming. Several Dutch Dutch companies are already active in this region, such as NedStack, Teesing and KIWA SHV and Shell; the latter three also having established offices here.
- Mature hydrogen transportation network. In the city of Foshan is leading in China when It comes to hydrogen as application in mobility. There are already 1000 active h2 buses, 400 active delivery hydrogen trucks, 1 hydrogen tram and 20 active hydrogen refueling stations. In Guangdong province, the local government has allocated 30% of its total subsidy budget to hydrogen fuel cells and vehicles.
- Support from central government. The China central government assigned the province of Guangdong to be the leading province for hydrogen developments. The city of Foshan was assigned as the major fuel cell hub and the city of Maoming has production base. The UNDP organizes yearly one of China’s largest hydrogen conferences in Foshan together with the local government.
- Complete industrial supply chain. By attracting several large, medium, and small scale enterprises, Foshan and Guangzhou offer a nearly complete hydrogen industrial supply chain, with production of fuel cell vehicles, core parts such as the fuel cell stacks, storage & transportation equipment, and refueling stations. For hydrogen production, the city of Maoming a well know player with its large petrol-chemical plant.
Opportunities & challenges for Dutch companies
- Local governments are very open to discuss with international parties for their hydrogen developments. A great example of this is the Dutch company SHV who has already two active Hydrogen Refilling Stations in Guangzhou.
- Despite all recent hydrogen technology developments, Dutch technology is still leading, creating many opportunities for Dutch companies in regions with many active hydrogen projects such as South China.
- In Guangdong there is currently the project “Green Pearl River Programme” ongoing. The provincial government is looking to make its inland shipping more green and is considering hydrogen as one of the main ways to achieve this.
- Policies and local government leaders can change suddenly or over-time which can impact the hydrogen developments in unforeseen ways. But, because of the central government’s 2060 carbon-neutral plans, the general direction of using more sustainable energy sources won’t change.
- Finding a local reliable partner can be hard and its importance cannot be underestimated. Our team in Guangzhou is happy to help with this step
General introduction on the hydrogen sector in Dalian
The economy of Dalian is heavily dependent on the oil and petrochemical industry. Local authorities have ambitious plans to develop a separate hydrogen economy. The development of the local hydrogen sector in the responsibility of the Dalian Development and Reform Commission. In 2021, Dalian counts 13 hydrogen related projects under construction. Dalian has 2 operational fueling stations, and another 2 are being built. Furthermore, 7 hydrogen related industrial zones are under construction.
Developing the hydrogen sector in Dalian has the following strengths:
- Innovation capability. The Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Science (DICP) is one of the first institutes in China to start developing the fuel cell technology. The leading Chinese fuel cell companies such as Sunrise Power and Mixwell Technology are all from Dalian. Their technology was originally developed at DICP. In addition, the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences Energy College was newly built in Dalian high-tech zone. The main goal of the university is to stimulate R&D on hydrogen and clean energy development.
- Hydrogen manufacturing capability. The petrochemical industry is one
The economy of Dalian is heavily dependent on the oil and
petrochemical industry. Local authorities have ambitious plans to develop a
separate hydrogen economy. The development of the local hydrogen sector
is the responsibility of the Dalian Development and Reform Commission.
of the leading industries in Dalian. Local petrochemical companies produce roughly 700’000 – 800’000 tons hydrogen by-product per year. The manufacturing capability makes the price of local hydrogen cheaper compared to other cities in China.
• Support from local government. To increase the support for the development of the hydrogen energy industry, the Dalian government will invest 1 billion CNY in the coming five years. Government subsidies will be granted to hydrogen-energy vehicles, ships, key components, fueling stations, etc.
Opportunities & challenges for Dutch companies
- The development of hydrogen in Dalian is relatively new. The region offers many new projects, but most projects are dominated by government parties. It might be challenging for Dutch SMEs to get involved.
- Dutch companies can only apply for local government subsidies when they intend to invest locally, e.g. manufacture equipment locally. If the company merely wants to sell their technology or equipment, they will not qualify for government financial support.
- Companies that are already active in China, i.e. have a proven track record, are preferred.
- Companies without a proven track record, might be interested to apply for a demonstration project (DHI) to promote their Dutch hydrogen expertise. Contact For more information, please contact our Dalian office:
General introduction on the hydrogen sector in Shandong
Shandong is the 3rd largest economic powerhouse in China and a top
energy producer and consumer. Shandong has rich hydrogen resources. The
output of hydrogen in Shandong is about 2.6 million tons per year,
accounting for 1/8 of China’s total, among which 960.000 tons are by-
product hydrogen. Shandong has a fairly complete fuel cell vehicle (FCV)
industrial chain, covering from hydrogen production, storage and
transportation, refilling, as well as fuel cell core materials and components,
stacks, systems, vehicles, and application scenarios. From policy perspective,
Shandong attaches great importance to the development of the hydrogen
industry. In June 2020, Shandong issued China’s first provincial-level
medium- and long-term development plan on hydrogen energy, and total 9
local relevant standards have been deployed. In April 2021, the Ministry of
Science and Technology and Shandong Provincial Government signed
framework agreement on the construction of demonstrative projects of
hydrogen technology, which aims to substantially widening the application
Full coverage to hydrogen chain: Shandong covers the full range of hydrogen chain from production, storage, transportation, and application. There are over 50 key enterprises and research institutes dedicated in hydrogen, fuel cell technology and vehicles in Shandong, and the National Fuel Cell Innovation Center is newly established in Weifang, Shandong.
- Rich in hydrogen and clean energy resources: Shandong produces 2.6 million tons hydrogen per year, ranking the 1st in China, among of which 96.000 tons are by-product hydrogen. Its PV power installed capacity ranks the 1st and wind energy installed capacity ranks the 5th in the country.
- Well-developed hydrogen facility: So far 14 hydrogen refilling stations and 456 FCVs are in operation in the province. Shandong plans to have a total of 200 refilling stations by 2030.
- Policy support: Shandong issued its medium- and long-term development plan on hydrogen in 2020. Four cities in the province, Jinan, Qingdao, Weifang, and Zibo are deeply involved in the strategy as well as the framework agreement with the Ministry of Science and Technology. Opportunities & challenges for Dutch companies In general, through our visit and meeting with hydrogen sector in Shandong, we understand the development of hydrogen in Shandong is getting on track and providing opportunities for international cooperation along the full industrial chain. Local big players have been very clear that external knowledge institutes or companies, especially those representing world leading developments, are very welcome to cooperate. Some key technologies most wanted from the Shandong side we know for now include purification of by-product hydrogen, storage and transportation, fuel cell and core components, hydrogen production by electrolysis of water, and integration with renewable energy project such as offshore wind power. The challenges for Dutch companies are, on the one hand local main players, normally in large scale, have been very selective with abundant opportunities reaching out to or receiving hydrogen experts from all over the world. On the other hand, those ready-to-use technologies or solutions are much more needed on the market. Therefore, it’s important for Dutch hydrogen sector to evaluate what the Dutch real strengths are and what ready-to-use solutions the Dutch can offer to China at this stage.
For more information, please contact our Shandong office: