Both China and the UK have made massive developments in hydrogen energy this week and are taking a step closer towards creating a hydrogen economy for their respective countries. China has given the go ahead on a mega project to develop multiple power plants to generate green hydrogen while the UK introduced their 5 billion investment plan for hydrogen by 2030.
What is Happening in China?
- It’s a big week for hydrogen energy as two major world economies, China and the UK, have both introduced significant plans and projects towards a hydrogen economy.
- China has recently approved a massive power project to install a cluster of plants in the cities of Ordos and Baotou in Inner Mongolia that will generate green hydrogen using solar and wind power, and is projected to be operational in mid-2023.
- These power plants aim to produce 66,900 tonnes of green hydrogen a year, according to the Hydrogen Energy Industry Promotion Association, which could potentially displace about 21 million gallons of petrol for fossil fuel vehicles a year.
- About 20% of the power generated from the plants will go towards powering the grid, the rest of which will be towards generating green hydrogen.
- Green hydrogen is a natural gas obtained from waste carbon dioxide through electrolysis, which splits up hydrogen and oxygen in water using an electrical current.
- The current plans are ambitious and would require at least 465MW of electrolysers to produce targeted amounts of green hydrogen, which is more than the entire global market in 2021.
- A leading coal mining region, Inner Mongolia hopes to position itself as a potential renewable energy hub and leverage its 3,100 hours of sunlight a year and Siberian winds that pass through the region to generate significant power.
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What is Happening in the UK?
- The UK announced major plans for a country-wide hydrogen economy on August 17, which aims to attract at least USD $5.5 billion ( £4bn) of investment by 2030, enough to replace the amount of fossil fuel-generating power to heat and cook for about 3 million households in the country.
- Such a significant investment in the hydrogen economy could create more than 9,000 high-quality jobs by the end of the decade, and bring in USD $17.8 billion to the economy and 100,000 new jobs by 2050.
- The newly-unveiled plan also says hydrogen has the potential to provide 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050.
- Still in its early stages, the plan requires large-scale industry consultations in establishing a subsidy system and developing green hydrogen projects. However, blue hydrogen is also currently being considered into the UK plan despite recent studies showing that the production of blue hydrogen actually has a higher carbon footprint than fossil fuels.
- Unlike Green hydrogen, Blue hydrogen uses carbon capture and storage technologies to extract natural gas from waste carbon dioxide derived from fossil fuel production. Studies have found that massive amounts of methane gas, a gas that has a higher warming power than CO2, are released during this process.