Shandong powers ahead with hydrogen technology

By ZHAO RUIXUE in Jinan| (China Daily)| Updated : 2022-02-09

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A hydrogen-powered ski-waxing truck made in Shandong province is parked in the capital. [Photo/China Daily]

Built using state-of-the-art technology, China's first independently developed ski-waxing truck is in service for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

It runs on a hydrogen fuel cell, making it a zero emissions vehicle.

The truck is part of efforts by Shandong province, where it was developed and manufactured, to promote greater use of hydrogen energy.

The Shandong provincial government signed an agreement with the Ministry of Science and Technology last year to set up research and development projects with a focus on exploring efficient ways of using hydrogen to power a wide range of applications including transportation, ports, industrial parks and residential communities.

"The projects will contribute to national goals, under which peak carbon emissions should be reached before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060," said Han Shaohua, deputy director of the high-tech office of the Shandong Provincial Department of Science and Technology.

For its initial project, Shandong will build an expressway, two ports, four industrial parks and five residential communities powered mainly by hydrogen over the next four years. Three centers for popularizing the use of clean energy, and to explain how hydrogen is produced and used, will also be built.

This first stage will focus on developing core technologies in hydrogen purification and its production through electrolysis to ensure that China has abundant quantities of hydrogen, said Xu Zichun, director of the National Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Center. "With this project, we seek to test and master a number of independently developed core technologies and products, and to promote the large-scale application of hydrogen energy," Xu said.

Shandong has been ramping up efforts to produce, store, transport and use the clean energy source since last year.

Twenty-two hydrogen fueling stations have been put into service, with daily supply capacity reaching 20,000 kilograms. More than 900 hydrogen-powered vehicles, including buses, forklifts and refrigerated trucks are now on the road, the department stated on Jan 6.

The province launched its first hydrogen-powered intercity vehicle network last June, when 170 cold-chain and slag trucks were put into service.

The vehicles travel between the eastern city of Qingdao and Linyi city in the west, and are expected to help reduce the province's overall carbon emissions by 20,000 metric tons a year, according to the operating team at the Qingdao International Academician Park.

A batch of hydrogen-fueled heavy tractors was put into service in January at the port in Rizhao city. The tractors are specially designed for ports and boast low hydrogen consumption. They can be refueled in five minutes and drive over 300 kilometers on one tank.

When it comes to launching the energy transition, ports are key battlegrounds because they are energy hubs that bring together all types of transportation, including sea, land, waterway and air, said Zhang Feng, deputy general manager of Qingdao Qianwan United Container Terminal of Shandong Port Group.

"We are participating in the project to develop port-based clean energy supply systems by using abundant byproduct hydrogen to replace fossil fuels," Zhang said.

The company began constructing a hydrogen fueling station at its port on Dec 29.

"We plan to build an integrated hydrogen energy supply system, three fueling stations and 10 hydrogen-powered rail-mounted gantry cranes within four years," Zhang said.

Shandong is also in the process of selecting a number of residential communities as demonstration areas for the use of hydrogen to heat homes. "We will use measures like building exclusive hydrogen pipelines, as well as blending hydrogen with natural gas to heat homes," Han said.