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Fuel cell development in China

Recently, hydrogen fuel cells again by the industry's attention. On January 10, the national energy investment group co., LTD., director, general manager, China academy of engineering LingWen said in Beijing, suggested that study the organization related ministries and commissions of the state to the hydrogen into national energy system, and promote the hydrogen as an important part of national energy strategy, formulate the hydrogen industry development strategy and implementation roadmap, establish a scientific long-term support and incentive policies of industry development. On January 12th afternoon, vice chairman of the CPPCC national committee, chairman of China association for science and technology wan gang electric cars in China c (2019) in the BBS said: "the hydrogen as an energy management in developed countries, and created a scientific and safe hydrogen and onboard hydrogen filling station construction technical standards and monitoring system, vigorously promote the fuel cell car commercial. It is suggested to learn from the advanced experience, summarize the results of the pilot projects, promptly study and revise the technical standards for hydrogen energy, hydrogen refueling stations and hydrogen storage, enhance the testing capacity, remove the barriers to standard testing and market access barriers as soon as possible, and strengthen and improve the construction of hydrogen energy production, storage, transportation and supply and marketing systems.


Previously, fu yuwu, President of the Chinese society of automotive engineering, said that the national energy strategy is very clear, and diversification is still the strategic basis of China's energy strategy.


Fuel cell technology development process


The China hydrogen energy and fuel cell industry innovation alliance, led by the national energy group, was formally established in Beijing on feb 11, 2018. Under the policy support, the domestic hydrogen fuel cell market began to be active, and domestic independent brands and some emerging car manufacturing forces began to research and develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Shanghai remolding technology co., LTD., President of fuel cell branch of China automotive power battery industry innovation alliance, shares the current development situation of hydrogen fuel cells in China at the 2018 annual meeting of China automotive power battery industry innovation alliance in Beijing on jan 17. [photo/VCG]


The core parts of fuel cell system mainly include electric reactor, air compressor, DC/DC, hydrogen gas circulating pump, humidifier, etc. The following table introduces the current domestic and foreign technology development of electric reactor and air compressor in the core parts of fuel cell system.




Development scale of fuel cell vehicles: China will have 1 million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2030


At the 14th China automotive industry development teda international BBS conference held on September 1, 2018, ouyang minggao, a member of the Chinese academy of sciences and professor of tsinghua university, clearly estimated the development scale of fuel vehicles in China, and announced the near, medium and long-term strategic goals and plans for China's hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.




At present, hydrogen fuel cell products in China have been verified by commercial operation, and their reliability has been confirmed. Foshan, Shanghai, zhangjiakou and zhengzhou took the lead in realizing the normal multi-line operation of hydrogen fuel cell bus. Foshan plans to add 70 buses by the end of 2018 and 70 by early 2019. Zhangjiakou will start commercial demonstration operation at the end of 2018.


At the same time, at present in China's Shanghai, guangdong, shandong, hubei and other places the government has issued a relevant plan.


Shanghai: to build 5-10 hydrogen refueling stations and 2 passenger car demonstration zones by 2020, with an operation scale of 3,000 vehicles; By 2025, there will be 50 hydrogen refueling stations, no fewer than 20,000 passenger cars and no less than 10,000 other special vehicles.


Shandong: according to the development roadmap of hydrogen energy industry in shandong province (proposed draft), by 2020, the number of fuel cell vehicles will reach 2,000 and the number of hydrogen refueling stations will reach 20. By 2025, there will be 50,000 fuel-cell vehicles and 200 refueling stations. By 2030, there will be 100,000 fuel-cell vehicles and 500 refueling stations.


Suzhou: by 2020, nearly 10 hydrogen refueling stations will be built, and the operation scale of fuel cell vehicles will reach 800. By 2025, nearly 40 hydrogen refueling stations will be built, and the operation scale of fuel cell vehicles will reach 1,000.


Wuhan: in 2018-2020, 5-20 hydrogen refueling stations will be built, and demonstration operation scale of fuel cell buses, commuter vehicles and logistics vehicles will reach 2000-3000. By 2025, 30-100 hydrogen refueling stations will be built, with a total operation volume of 10,000 to 30,000 passenger cars, buses, logistics vehicles and other special vehicles.


The bottleneck of fuel cell development


The following table shows the performance comparison between the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle representing Toyota Mirai and the lithium battery vehicle representing tesla.




Compared with lithium-ion batteries, hydrogen fuel cells have obvious advantages in battery weight, range and charging time. However, at the same time, hydrogen fuel cell is still in the early stage of development, many problems need to be solved urgently, such as technical difficulty, high cost, high transportation risk, and imperfect infrastructure of hydrogen fuel cell station, etc., all of which are important factors restricting the large-scale promotion of hydrogen fuel cell.


At present, China's fuel cell industry mainly relies on government subsidies, while most of its core components need to be imported (such as the electric reactors described in the table above), and part of the components can be produced independently after 2020.


Meanwhile, hydrogen fuel cells use the chemical element hydrogen to make batteries that store energy. Hydrogen molecules are small and reactive. As it passes through the membrane, the electrons are stripped off the molecule, leaving only the positively charged hydrogen protons to pass through. Proton exchange membrane is the core technology in this process. However, platinum (Pt) was used as the catalyst in the proton exchange membrane, and Mirai used about 100 grams of platinum. According to the current calculation of 174 yuan per gram, the catalyst used nearly 20,000 yuan. Take the Nafion of dupont as an example, the proton exchange membrane is about 10 yuan per square centimeter. The cost of proton exchange membrane alone is about 100 thousand yuan according to the calculation of the amount of one square meter. In addition, the high-pressure hydrogen storage tank costs 60,000 yuan. In horizontal comparison, the cost of a 2L engine of a traditional gasoline car is about 30,000 yuan. At present, the cost of lithium battery has dropped below 1 yuan/wh, and the cost of a three-yuan lithium battery of 75 KWh configured by Tesla is about 80,000 yuan.




Note: the subsidy standard remains unchanged during the policy transition period


At present, lithium ion power battery has been industrialized and developed rapidly under the influence of the dual driving force of policy and market. However, the development of fuel cells, especially hydrogen fuel cells, is still in the initial stage. Industry experts said that at present, hydrogen fuel cells have broad prospects for development and rich application scenarios, but they still need a long time to solve the existing pain points before large-scale implementation.


However, compared with the declining lithium ion battery subsidy policy, the fuel cell subsidy is large and sustainable, which also shows the Chinese government's determination to attach importance to the diversified development path and support the new energy battery. For the national level, relevant development goals have been clearly formulated. The roadmap for energy conservation and new energy technology issued by the ministry of industry and information technology in 2016 has mentioned that 100 hydrogen refueling stations will be built by 2020. By 2025, the target of 300 refueling stations will be achieved. 1,000 hydrogen refueling stations will be completed by 2030.

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