International Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association


IHFCA Vice-chair Member Sinopec Achieved Milestone in Building China’s Largest Solar Power-to-Hydrogen Project

August 30, 2023 - IHFCA Vice-chair Member China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (#Sinopec) announced that it has started the operation of its Kuqa Green Hydrogen Pilot Project in Xinjiang, northwest China.

A milestone in China’s green hydrogen development, the project is the country’s largest photovoltaic green hydrogen production project – with a combined water electrolysis hydrogen production capacity of 20,000 tons per year. It’s projected that the hydrogen production cost will be around RMB 18/kg.

As of June 2023, the project has successfully commissioned the entire process of green hydrogen production, transportation, and its application in oil refining. It is anticipated that this project will serve as a replicable and scalable model for the production of green hydrogen from intermittent renewable sources such as wind and solar in north and northwest China.

With an investment of RMB 3 billion (approx. $417 million), the project encompasses:

- A 300MW photovoltaic farm.

- An electrolysis plant with a hydrogen production capacity of 20,000 tons per year.

- Ten spherical hydrogen tanks with a total hydrogen storage capacity of 210,000 cubic meters.

- An extensive pipeline network transporting 28,000 cubic meters of hydrogen per hour.

The electrolysis plant includes a total of 52 sets of cutting-edge electrolysers, which will produce green hydrogen equivalent to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 485,000 tons annually. These 52 sets of electrolysers, each with a hydrogen production capacity of 1,000Nm3/h, were manufactured by Cockerill-Jingli Hydrogen, LONGi Hydrogen, and PERIC Hydrogen.

Cockerill-Jingli Hydrogen is a 56:44 joint venture founded in 2018 between John Cockerill Group and Suzhou Jingli Hydrogen. The joint venture is mainly engaged in the design, development, manufacture and sales of hydrogen production equipment in various industries. Headquartered in Seraing, Belgium, John Cockerill is a multinational company with over 200 years of history and nearly 5,000 highly specialized engineers all over the world.

LONGi is a global leader in the clean energy transition, providing a comprehensive suite of solar PV solutions that can optimize a wide range of project applications. LONGi is the world’s largest solar manufacturer, with annual production of 150 GW of silicon wafers, 60 GW of cells, and 85 GW of modules. In March 2021, LONGi established LONGi Hydrogen Energy, committed to becoming the world's leading hydrogen equipment technology company.

PERIC (the 718 Research Institute of China State Shipbuilding Corporation, CSSC) is a leading supplier of electrolysers, hydrogen storage and HRS equipment, with an annual production capacity of 350 alkaline and 120 PEM electrolysers. Its electrolysers used in the polysilicon sector accounts for 70% of the market share in China.

The Kuqa Green Hydrogen Project in Xinjiang was developed by Sinopec’s New Star Xinjiang Green Hydrogen Energy Co., Ltd, which was incorporated in 2015. Key contractors include Sinopec Guangzhou (Luoyang) Engineering, Sinopec Fifth Construction Engineering, and Zhongyuan Construction Engineering. Together, these companies overcome considerable challenges such as the lack of mature engineering cases for the scale of the project.

Sinopec, a Vice-chair Member of IHFCA, is playing a leading role in advancing China’s hydrogen industry across the entire hydrogen value chain. In 2022, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) designated Sinopec as the “Chief of China’s Hydrogen Supply Chain”, making it the leader of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the country’s hydrogen development.

Sinopec has the second-largest gas station network in the world, with more than 30,000 gas stations in operation. In the hydrogen sector, Sinopec has built more than 100 hydrogen refueling stations. In the areas of hydrogen production and transportation, Sinopec is developing an integrated green hydrogen project in Ulanqab, Inner Mongolia. With an investment of RMB 20 billion, the project will build hydrogen production plants with electricity generated from solar (804MW) and wind (1,742MW) farms, along with China’s longest hydrogen pipeline. The 400 km hydrogen pipeline will connect the hydrogen production plants in Ulanqab to Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical in Beijing, with an annual throughput of 100,000 tons of hydrogen.

In 2022, China’s total manufacturing capacity of electrolysers surpassed 8GW, with a shipment of about 800MW in that year. Of these 800MW, 776MW were alkaline electrolysers. As of August 2023, China’s hydrogen industry has announced over 300 renewable hydrogen projects, 36 of which are already in operation with a combined hydrogen production capacity of about 56,000 tons per year.