Jan 11, 2018, the petrol and hydrogen filling station project, which is joint venture and cooperated by Sinopec Guangdong Yunfu and Yunfu Xinxing County State Assets Management Office held project foundation stone laying ceremony in Xinxing County, Yunfu, Guangdong.
According to the planning, the project will design and construct an petrol and hydrogen filling co-construction station. Petrol station is designed as a level-2 station and hydrogen station is designed as a level-3 station. Among, product oil reserves are 150m3 (3 30m3 gasoline tanks and 2 30m3 diesel tanks), hydrogen reserves are 1000kg (divided into 2 groups, early implemented and reserved hydrogen storage tanks are 500kg, respectively). This petrol and hydrogen filling station project total investment is about CNY 33M and it is estimated to put into operation in Jun 2018.
Before in Dec 2017, both PetroChina and Sinopec signed agreement on related hydrogen filling station construction with Guangdong Foshan Government. This time, construction of Guangdong Yunfu Petrol and Hydrogen Filling Station is first hydrogen filling station that is constructed by China traditional oil and gas company.
ASIACHEM believes that, infrastructure network of hydrogen supply is key factor of China fast rising hydrogen energy and fuel cell vehicle industry. Public data shows that, up to Aug 2017, there are 286 hydrogen filling stations under operation in the world. Among, Japan, the US and Germany hydrogen filling stations list Top 3 in number, which has 91, 60 and 31, respectively. ASIACHEM <China Hydrogen Energy and Fuel Cell Annual Report 2018> shows that, since Feichi Jingli Hydrogen Preparation and Filling Station construction in Beijing in Jun 2006, China totally construction 11 hydrogen filling stations, yet, 4 of them have been demolished currently. In the rest 7 hydrogen filling stations, except Foshan Danzao Hydrogen Filling Station, the rest 6 are mainly for R&D or providing filling service to demonstration vehicles and have not realized full commercial operation yet.
Why China hydrogen filling stations are so less in number?
1. Currently China is mainly developing EV. CAAM data shows that, in 2017, China NEV production and sales volume is 794K and 777K, respectively, YOY increase 53.8% and 53.3%, respectively. Development of fuel cell vehicles is relatively low and technology has not matured.
2. Most of key parts needed to construct hydrogen filling stations rely on import, makes hydrogen filling stations construction cost is quite high. Public information shows that, in Sep 2017, China first commercial operation hydrogen filling station put into use in Danzao Town, Nanhai District, Foshan. This hydrogen filling station designed filling pressure is 35MPa and daily hydrogen filling capacity is 350kg, and it also reserved an expansion space for 70MPa pressure and 700kg/d hydrogen filling capacity. This station is invested and constructed by Foshan Great Power and investment is CNY 15.5M.
Before, in Nov 2014, MOF, MOST, MIIT and NDRC released <Inform on NEV Charging Facilities Construction Awards>, pointed out to reward CNY 4M to the new built hydrogen filling station that meets national technology standard and daily hydrogen filling capacity is no less than 200kg. However, execution period of this policy is from 2013 to 2015, and there are no related policies published afterwards. High construction cost and uncertainty of subsidy make many enterprises shrink back at the sight.
3. Operating and maintenance cost of hydrogen filling stations is high, infrastructure of hydrogen filling station relies on hydrogen filling scale effect to balance income and expenses to gain profits. However, as China fuel cell vehicles are still at startup stage, operating vehicles are less and it is quite hard to gain profits.
ASIACHEM believes that, Sinopec and PetroChina get involved in hydrogen supply industry and construct petrol and hydrogen filling station is benefit for accelerating China hydrogen energy supply. Except strong capital strength, advantage of PetroChina / Sinopec constructing hydrogen filling stations mainly comes from hydrogen source and terminal sales.
Although most ideal hydrogen source of fuel cell vehicles comes from renewable energy electrolysis, currently, low cost but large scale hydrogen production still mainly comes from petrochemical and coal chemical industry, comes from Sinopec, PetroChina and Shenhua etc. traditional energy chemical enterprises.
In terms of terminal sales, information shows that, up to end of 2015, China totally had 96.3k petrol stations, among, PetroChina and Sinopec totally had 51.3k, which occupies 53%.
It is easier to realize construction of petrol and hydrogen filling stations than hydrogen filling stations only also shown on land approval.
As both hydrogen filling stations and petrol stations have requirement of safe distance. In hence, to construct petrol and hydrogen filling station, only need to demolish petrol filling device in petrol stations and new increase hydrogen filling related devices, and no need to new approve land, which procedures are difficult.
Public information shows that, currently, the co-construction technology norm of hydrogen filling stations and petrol / gas stations has been formulated and will be published and implemented at a proper time. ASIACHEM believes that, although petrol and hydrogen filling station invested and constructed by Sinopec this time may be only experimental, it will make a demonstration to China enterprises, will lead further acceleration on China hydrogen filling station construction, and create conditions to scale application of fuel cell vehicles.