Green Development

Going Green: Industry base points way for low-carbon transition

Updated: May 6, 2023 By ALEXIS HOOI and HU DONGMEI in Yinchuan China Daily Global Print
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An olefin production facility in Ningdong [Photo provided to China Daily]

Clean energy push

Hydrogen, seen as a fossil fuel alternative that can be stored more efficiently than solar or wind energy, features prominently in Ningdong's clean energy push. Its production of green hydrogen, which involves using water and solar and wind resources in an electrolysis process, is set to hit more than 300,000 tons by 2025, cutting standard coal use by at least 3.6 million tons and reducing 7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Ningdong base's figures.

Hydrogen infrastructure plans include at least 10 major refueling stations and 30 kilometers of transmission and distribution pipelines in core areas; liquid hydrogen storage and transportation facilities to support annual volumes of over 3,000 tons; and the use of more than 500 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Improved technology, research and development and innovation capabilities will also help the sector move toward a total output value of 26 billion yuan.

Green hydrogen, used mainly for chemical production and transportation, is set to expand its reach in Ningdong. This will include a demonstration zone project with a planned investment of 15 billion yuan that can save 550,000 tons of coal in energy consumption and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.1 million tons, with applications extending to vehicle fuel cell production, according to the base.

Leading Ningdong's transition is Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group, with 16,000 employees helping the industry giant achieve an annual increase of 300 million standard cubic meters of green hydrogen.

Expansion of Baofeng's production capacity is expected to take its green hydrogen annual output to 10 billion standard cubic meters, reflecting the group's commitment to becoming "the world's largest green hydrogen producer and supplier", said Liu Yuanguan, president of the group.

The group is laying out a "technologically advanced and economically feasible carbon neutral scientific path in the global industry", he said. It is doing so in part by using solar energy to produce and deliver green hydrogen to the area's major chemical producers, significantly replacing fossil fuel use. In addition, solar and wind energy are used in a complementary loop that generates "green electricity" for "green hydrogen" and "green oxygen" products, Liu said.

"Through the innovative integration of advanced equipment and technology at home and abroad, the company vigorously promotes the technological upgrading of domestic large-scale equipment and the optimization of production processes and technical parameters," Liu said.

Green hydrogen will also be used in transportation, and will be expanded to various fields to "realize the integrated development of the entire hydrogen energy industry chain toward national energy security and the goal of carbon neutrality", Liu said.

In the digital sphere, the company is ramping up 5G and big data capabilities to increase interconnectivity, which will cover artificial intelligence, the internet of things, cloud computing and other fields with energy resource development, utilization and production safety processes.

"Baofeng also attaches great importance to the construction and improvement of scientific and technological innovation platforms and the transformation and application of scientific research results," Liu said.

"The company embraces internal and external research and development efforts, establishes industry-academic research cooperation with well-known universities and scientific research institutions at home and abroad, builds science and technology innovation platforms, and continuously improves R&D infrastructure and an innovation-focused environment. It actively promotes the transformation and application of scientific research results and has achieved important results in patents," he said.

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