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Thu May 6, 2021, 07:28 AM

China's hydrogen dream takes shape in Shandong

Beijing is rediscovering the power and potential of hydrogen in its long quest for alternative energy sources to transition to carbon neutrality by 2060 or earlier.

A detailed pilot plan being worked out to transform Shandong, a regional industrial powerhouse, into a “hydrogen society” holds out much hope of delivering on the green promise.

Among the options being weighed by top policymakers to wean China’s energy consumption off carbon, hydrogen is once again being hailed as the fuel of the future for its abundance and zero tailpipe emissions benefits.

The hydrogen hype was in the air when members of the Chinese parliament deliberated on the nation’s 14th Five-year Plan in March to delineate a policy pathway from hydrocarbon to hydrogen, as Beijing, the world’s largest polluter, seeks to champion green development.

There are already plans afoot in the eastern province of Shandong, following the April signing of a pact on sweeping hydrogen adoption and commercialization initiatives by the provincial authorities, the Chinese State Council’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology in April.

The pact contains a raft of tailor-made measures for Shandong as China’s only pilot zone for hydrogen’s wider application. Under the auspices of Beijing, Shandong will be made a testing ground for the cells, batteries, pipelines and business models indispensable for a future nationwide roll-out.


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Response to Klaralven (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 11:49 PM

1. Hydrogen is not a power *source*, it is only a medium of exchange.

There are no hydrogen mines. Most H2 is made from natural gas, and CO2 is the inevitable byproduct.

H2 is "green" only if it can be made by means which do not produce CO2. There are certainly ways to do this, but H2 is not inherently "green", or even nonpolluting -- all too likely, the early deployments will only enable the end users to avoid emissions locally by using infrastructure which produces emissions elsewhere.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #1)

Fri May 7, 2021, 06:25 AM

2. Hydrogen is a byproduct of some manufacturing; Also from electrolysis using wind and solar.

Hydrogen produced in the manufacturing process of Shandong’s sprawling steelmaking and metallurgical sectors can be readily tapped, with annual production at around 2.6 million cubic tons each year.

This is on top of plans for water electrolysis to make hydrogen using the power from Shandong’s rich solar and wind resources as a coastal province bordering the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea. The Dazhong Daily reported that 16 water decomposition and electrolysis plants and hydrogen storage facilities in the province would be up and running by 2025.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #1)

Fri May 7, 2021, 06:53 AM

3. It is a power source once extracted from a compound containing it.

Preferably water as the byproduct of extraction is oxygen. That process can use solar or wind or other green sources of energy.

To me the biggest issue is storage since H2 gas requires extremely high pressure to compress.

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Response to honest.abe (Reply #3)

Fri May 7, 2021, 09:25 AM

4. Hence the term, "medium of exchange". H2 is like a rechargable battery --

you can keep burning it to H2O and converting it back to H2 as many times as you like, but the energy has to come from somewhere. If the sources are "green" you are storing green energy; if CO2-producing energy sources are used, H2 technology is still enabling pollution.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #4)

Fri May 7, 2021, 11:01 AM

5. You could say the same about essentially any fuel energy source.

For example oil and coal are simply comprised of energy stored originally from the sun converted by biological organisms millions of years ago.

This doesn't really matter as long as the hydrogen is produced via a green energy source, sun, wind, etc. It's clean energy and will likely be a major fuel source in the future. Looks like China could become the leader in this technology.

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