Hydrogen energy project investment speeds up in China while green hydrogen policy needs to be strengthened

 Hydrogen energy project investment speeds up in China while green hydrogen policy needs to be strengthened

Hydrogen energy project investment speeds up while green hydrogen policy needs to be strengthened    

Liu Xueye, Project Lead for Green Economics & Yang Li, Senior Program Director for Energy Transition, Institute of Global Decarbonization Progress (iGDP)

After analyzing hydrogen energy policies and major projects listed by 28 provinces from 2020 to 2023, iGDP had the following findings: first, during the past four years, investment in hydrogen energy listed in major projects of each provincial region has accelerated, with an overall increase of three times. 

Second, hydrogen production projects make up a small percentage of the total, in which green hydrogen manufacturing projects are predominant. However, there is a lack of sufficient policies and guidance for related segments. 

By categorizing these policies and projects, it was noted that China lacks unified national standards for defining green hydrogen, its technical pathways, and thresholds. The “Standards and Evaluation of Low-Carbon Hydrogen, Clean Hydrogen, and Renewable Hydrogen” group standard released by China Hydrogen Alliance in 2020 sets thresholds at 14.51 kg CO2e/kg H2 for low-carbon hydrogen, and 4.9 kg CO2e/kg H2 for clean hydrogen while renewable hydrogen requires renewable energy as the hydrogen source. These thresholds exceed the 3.4 CO2e/kg H2 set by the EU and Japan for green hydrogen.  

In provincial major project lists, we can find emerging hydrogen projects that utilize waste resources for production. These projects not only effectively utilize existing waste materials but also reduce land usage and the demand for renewable energy in hydrogen production processes. Therefore, incentivizing relevant technological innovations and effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide emissions, generated during hydrogen production processes, may be a key focus area for future hydrogen energy policies in China.   

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