'Green' hydrogen boosting coal-to-chemical industry

By Hou Liqiang,Hu Dongmei and Yuan Hui | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-21 10:18
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Solar panels are erected to supply power to the plant, which is owned and operated by Baofeng Energy. CHINA DAILY

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In Ordos, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, efforts have been strengthened to tap the potential of green hydrogen and help transform the city's huge coal-to-chemical industry.

For example, in February, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, aka Sinopec, launched its first hydrogen demonstration project in the city.

Once operational, the project will make full use of the rich solar and wind energy resources in Ordos. It is expected to produce 30,000 tons of green hydrogen and 240,000 tons of green oxygen a year, Sinopec said.

The hydrogen and oxygen will be transported via pipelines to a compound for the deep processing of coal, replacing hydrogen produced by coal.

As the world's largest such project under construction, it is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1.4 million tons every year.

"The project is of great significance for guaranteeing China's energy security, building new energy systems and advancing green energy and low-carbon development in Inner Mongolia," said Ma Yongsheng, Sinopec's chairman, in a media release from the company.

At the national level, great importance has been attached to the green transformation of the coal-to-chemical sector. According to a notification document released by the National Development and Reform Commission in June, China will strictly control the approval and size of new coal-to-chemical projects.

The document — issued by six national government departments, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology — said the country will boost the coupling of the modern coal-to-chemical industry with the development of renewable energy, green hydrogen and a number of yet-to-be-built CCUS projects.

The document was not intended to restrict the development of the coal-to-chemical industry, but to accelerate the growth of the sector in a healthier, higher-quality and sustainable manner, according to Wang Xiujiang, deputy secretary-general of the committee of the coal chemical industry at the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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