Energy giant Shell reported today that it has started up one of the world’s largest hydrogen electrolysers in Zhangjiakou, China, and is now producing green hydrogen from the facility.

Completed in 13 months, the 20 megawatt electrolyser is part of a joint venture between Shell China and Zhangjiakou City Transport Construction Investment Holding Group Co. Ltd. The companies anticipate scaling up the facility to 60 MW over the next 2 years. The project is Shell’s first commercial hydrogen development project in China.

Wael Sawan, Shell’s Integrated Gas, Renewable and Energy Solutions Director, said:

“The electrolyser is the largest in our portfolio to date and is in line with Shell’s Powering Progress strategy, which includes plans to build on our leading position in hydrogen. We see opportunities across the hydrogen supply chain in China, including its production, storage and shipping. We want to be the trusted partner for our customers from different sectors as we help them decarbonise in China.”

Hydrogen is viewed as one of the key building blocks of the transition to a cleaner energy future, particularly for sectors with difficult to abate emissions, in which renewable energy solutions such as wind or solar are less practical.

Despite being the most abundant element in the universe, however, there are no pure hydrogen deposits on earth and it must be extracted from other materials. The extraction process often creates pollutants and GHG emissions. Significant investments are required to develop clean extraction processes, such as green hydrogen, which uses a renewable energy-powered electrolysis process to extract hydrogen from water.

Shell stated that the new onshore wind-powered facility will supply green hydrogen for more than 600 fuel cell vehicles at the Zhangjiakou competition zone during the Winter Olympic Games. Following the games, the project will help power public and commercial transport in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

Jason Wong, Executive Chairman of Shell Companies in China, said:

“We are glad to contribute to China’s progress towards its commitment for a carbon-neutral Olympic Games, and in the longer term for its 2030 and 2060 carbon targets. With project phase 2 expansion plans and through partnerships with the local government and businesses, we will support the development of a low-carbon energy system and low-carbon transport system in Zhangjiakou and the wider Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.”