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The hydrogen refueling station is speeding up. The investment in the fuel cell industry chain is uneven.

Shanghai Jiangqiao Hydrogen Station is known as one of the busiest hydrogen refueling stations in Shanghai and even in China. Here, every day, Dongfeng Logistics Vehicles with blue “STNE” LOGO on the body are lined up for hydrogenation. This is the hydrogen fuel cell logistics fleet of Hydro Trucks Automobile (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.

“At present, our partners include Jingdong, Shentong, Box Horse and IKEA.” Zhou Junjun, the head of the operation of Hydrogen Cheshu Road, said that since Shanghai does not subsidize the use of hydrogen, the cost of using hydrogen fuel vehicles is relatively high. Cars and electric cars are generally high.

“But in the field of logistics, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have comprehensive competitiveness.” Zhou Yijun said that on the one hand, Shanghai has restrictions on the passage of fuel trucks. Most urban roads are forbidden, and hydrogen fuel vehicles are not subject to road rights. At the same time, compared with pure electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have longer cruising range and heavier load. Take Dongfeng Hydrogen Energy Logistics Vehicle, which is currently in operation by the company, as an example. “The cruising range of hydrogenation can reach 300km-400km, and the carrying capacity can reach 3.2 tons. The traditional electric vehicle cruising range may only reach 200km and the carrying capacity is 1-1.5 tons.”

Scale is conducive to the creation of cost advantages, but for companies like Hydro Trucks, the biggest problem currently facing is the shortage of hydrogen refueling stations. Before the completion of Jinshan Indigo Hydrogenation Station, the largest hydrogen refueling station in Shanghai on June 5, there were only three hydrogen refueling stations in operation in Shanghai: Jiangqiao Hydrogen Station, and it has a 12-year history of about 20km west. The Anting hydrogen refueling station, as well as the hydrogen refueling station operated by Pujiang Special Gas in the Jinan Indigo Hydrogenation Station. In addition, some hydrogen refueling stations also have problems such as aging equipment, limited hydrogenation capacity, and unsatisfactory location.
The lack of hydrogen refueling stations has delayed the promotion of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which has made it difficult to achieve scale advantages. This is the consensus in the industry. However, under the impetus of the policy, the above problems are expected to accelerate.

The hydrogen refueling station is speeding up

According to the plan, Shanghai will also build 14 hydrogen refueling stations this year. In Jiading District, it will build 6 buildings within the year. Relevant persons of the Shanghai Municipal Government have previously stated that Shanghai is studying the subsidy for the construction of the hydrogen refueling station and related subsidy policies in the operation process, and is expected to be disclosed in the second half of the year.

In January this year, Nanhai District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province clearly stated in its officially issued “Promotion of Hydrogen Station Construction and Operation and Hydrogen Energy Vehicle Operation Support Measures” that the subsidy for the construction of hydrogen refueling stations can reach up to 8 million yuan. Subsequently, Shandong Jinan and Anhui Lu'an and other local governments have issued policies to subsidize the construction and operation of hydrogen refueling stations. According to the plan for the construction of hydrogen refueling stations proposed by many places, by 2020, the number of China's hydrogen refueling stations may exceed 100.

The construction of the hydrogen refueling station is accelerating, but in the short term, it depends on government subsidies.

The high construction cost of the hydrogen refueling station is one of the key reasons for the difficulty in profitability of the hydrogen refueling station. According to the data disclosed by Wang Ju, deputy secretary-general of the International Hydrogen Energy Fuel Cell Association, a fixed 35 MPa (pressure unit) hydrogen refueling station with a daily hydrogenation capacity of 1000 kg (10 h) has an initial investment of 15.9 million. 20 million yuan (excluding the cost of land and the cost of hydrogen long tube trailers). “One of the important reasons for restricting the construction costs of domestic hydrogen refueling stations is that key equipment has not been localized and autonomous,” she said.

Secondly, the technical level of hydrogen storage and transportation is limited, resulting in high hydrogen cost. In addition to the indigo hydrogen refueling station in Shanghai, it can be transported outside the pipeline because it is adjacent to the hydrogen source of the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park. The transportation of the remaining hydrogen refueling stations relies on torpedo vehicles to be transported by road. "A torpedo that transports hydrogen has a weight of about 50 tons, but the hydrogen contained in the tank may be only 200 kilograms. Therefore, transporting hydrogen is basically equal to transporting iron." The operators of the above-mentioned hydrogen trucks said that in foreign countries, The road transport efficiency of hydrogen can reach about 4%.
Because of the high cost, the hydrogen price of most hydrogen refueling stations is as high as 60-70 yuan/kg. According to the bus data that was put into demonstration operation in Jiading, Shanghai, the hydrogen consumption per 100 kilometers is about 8-10 kilograms, and the price is about 560 yuan to 700 yuan. A Roewe 950-kilometer hydrogen consumption is about 1.2 kilograms, about RMB 84, which is much higher than traditional fuel vehicles.

According to industry estimates, the cost of hydrogen needs to be reduced to less than 40 yuan / kg, the operating cost of the vehicle can be benchmarked against traditional cars. But in fact, from the source to the hydrogen production, and then to the transportation process, the cost of the entire process is difficult to reduce significantly at the moment. To reduce the cost of hydrogen supply in the short term, it still depends on government subsidies.

Is the tuyere really coming?

Short-term losses are difficult to ruin capital and the government's determination to seize the hydrogen fuel cell car runway.

According to incomplete statistics, 20 provinces have made development plans for hydrogen energy and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, forming six industrial clusters of hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in East China, Central China, South China, North China, Northeast China and Southwest China. The city has even focused on building the hydrogen fuel cell industry as a pillar industry of the future.

According to statistics from institutions, the planned investment in China's hydrogen fuel cell industry chain from 2017 to 2018 has reached 200 billion yuan, of which hydrogen fuel cell vehicle-related investment accounts for about half of the total investment. Liu Zhixiang of Guangdong Guohong Hydrogen Energy Technology Co., Ltd. said in the second China (Foshan) International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology and Product Promotion Conference last November that the number of newly established enterprises in November 2018 exceeded the past few years. .

Capital intensively entered the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle industry chain, but is the “window” really coming? FANg Shiwen, president of Linde Group Greater China, said at the inauguration ceremony of Shanghai Jinshan Indigo Hydrogenation Station on June 5 that the domestic hydrogen fuel cell vehicle industry is still in the early stage of development from technical demonstration to commercial demonstration.

Ouyang Minggao, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the chief scientist of the Zhangjiakou Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Research Institute, also said on the 12th of the "Hydrogen Energy Zhangjiakou Construction Plan" on June 12th that although the current investment in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is surging, From the aspects of technical difficulty, industrial chain level, and standard establishment, it is more difficult to develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicles than pure electric vehicles.

He said that even by 2030, the market size of China's hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be 1 million. Among them, mainly commercial vehicles. The reason for the limited market size is that there are still major problems in China's current hydrogen storage and transportation. At present, the globally recognized mainstream on-board hydrogen storage and hydrogen technology is high-pressure gas hydrogen. It stores and transports hydrogen through a 70 MPa type IV high-pressure hydrogen storage bottle. However, China does not have mature products and related standards and regulations in this respect, so it is not economical and efficient. A viable hydrogen storage and transportation mode.

Not only China, but the global industrialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is slower. Information Trends, a US market research and consulting firm, mentioned in the November 2017 report "Fuel Cell Vehicles: Global Market Analysis" that from the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in 1968 to September 2017, the global fuel cell vehicle The number of possessions is only about 5,500.

However, Mao Zongqiang, a professor at the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology of Tsinghua University and vice chairman of the International Hydrogen Energy Association, said: "At present, governments and enterprises in many countries are vigorously planning and actively investing in the construction of hydrogen refueling stations. Once the inflection point has passed, The number of hydrogen stations will blow out. In a few years, the sales of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be considerable." He believes that from the perspective of Japan and South Korea, the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is no problem. If China does not act early, when foreign manufacturers enter the market, they may lose opportunities.

According to the data released by Information Trends above, the sales of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the world are indeed showing a rapid increase. In the 5,500 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as of September 2017, 2,400 vehicles were sold in the first three of 2017. Completed quarterly. The sales of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the Chinese market have also shown a rapid increase in the past few years. Statistics from the OFweek lithium grid show that in 2016, the sales of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in China were less than 30, but in 2017 this figure increased to 1,199 vehicles, rising to 1,527 in 2018.

Surging investment but uneven heat and cold

Investment in the hydrogen fuel industry chain is surging but uneven. The above-mentioned investment of more than 200 billion yuan is mainly concentrated in the fields of upstream hydrogen production, electric reactors and systems, and downstream complete vehicles. There are 55.5 billion yuan of capital flow in the hydrogen energy town and industrial park. 10 companies including China National Heavy Duty Truck (000951.SZ) and Changjiang Automobile are expected to invest more than 100 billion yuan in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This part is invested in hydrogen fuel cells. The funds of the car almost all point to commercial vehicles. More than half of the remaining 50 billion yuan is expected to flow to the field of power reactors and power systems, and more than 30 companies are entering the industry chain. The investment amount of these 30 companies is different. The single investment of large enterprises reaches 3 billion yuan, while the investment amount of small enterprises is only 10 million yuan. In addition, the hydrogen production link is also a major step in the capital of the industry chain, with a total planned investment of more than 7 billion yuan. Correspondingly, there is little investment in core raw materials such as catalysts, proton exchange membranes, and bipolar plates.

Some institutional analysts believe that the “inconsistent heat and cold” investment in the industrial chain is due to the low investment threshold for hydrogen production, power reactors and systems, and downstream vehicles. The technical bottlenecks such as catalysts and proton exchange membranes are high, and the amount of single investment is large. Second, the production line and equipment of hydrogen production, electric reactors and systems, downstream vehicles and other products are more versatile, which can meet the production of different types of products, while the production lines of catalysts, proton exchange membranes and other products are more customized, and the technology is still Immature.

Another car dealer who asked not to be named believes that the amount of vehicle investment has reached hundreds of billions of yuan because the entire vehicle chain is the key point for determining the degree of industrialization in the upstream and downstream industries. The large heads with subsidies are concentrated in the whole vehicle segment, and it is relatively easy to see returns. At present, for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, whether it is a bus or a commercial vehicle, the previous subsidy amount is still maintained, and the accumulated subsidy is as high as 1 million yuan.

Although the investment in the hydrogen fuel cell industry chain is surging, if the technology and capacity of key materials cannot be matched, the market competitiveness will be greatly reduced. Fuel cell costs are also difficult to reduce significantly with the mass application of stacks and power systems. Therefore, in the future, core raw materials such as catalysts and bipolar plates need to strengthen R&D investment and realize industrialization as soon as possible to promote the commercialization of the domestic hydrogen fuel cell industry.


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