China’s hydrogen industry facilitates its carbon neutrality goal

China’s positive progress in the hydrogen industry not only helps the country combat climate change and accelerate its transformation to a green economy but also facilitates its carbon neutrality goal before 2060, an official with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said.

Beate Trankmann, the resident representative of the UNDP China, made the remarks at the just concluded UNDP Hydrogen Industry Conference 2020 held in Foshan, south China’s Guangdong Province.

The event drew experts from organizations and scientific research institutions, as well as over 300 enterprises in the fields of hydrogen energy and fuel cells from home and abroad.

The hydrogen economy is still relatively new, but countries like Japan and the Republic of Korea are making plans and investments to boost the industry, Trankmann said, noting that the UNDP is currently working with China to develop the hydrogen economy.

China plays an important part in the world’s fuel cell and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle industry, the representative said. The country currently has a fleet of more than 7,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, such as cargo vans and trucks for commercial use, accounting for over half of the world’s total.

“By developing these vehicles, you raise public awareness, and you raise demand for fuel cell vehicles because ultimately you want a private consumer market when the industry matures,” said Trankmann.

She added that hydrogen industry clusters have been taking shape in China’s Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and Pearl River Delta regions, as well as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The pandemic offers an opportunity to invest in a green recovery, as people start to think how to get the economy on a lower carbon trajectory, said the representative, adding that hydrogen is set to meet 24 percent of the global energy demand by 2050, power a quarter of the world’s vehicles, and potentially creating 30 million jobs.

According to a development roadmap drawn up in 2016 by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China expects 1 million fuel cell vehicles with 70 MPa type IV high-pressure hydrogen cylinders and to build over 1,000 hydrogen filling stations by 2030.

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