Chinese oil giant Sinopec plans to produce more than two million tonnes of green hydrogen annually by 2025, according to a senior executive.

General manager Zhao Dong told a recent webinar in Beijing that more than 60% of the hydrogen that Sinopec produces by 2025 will be green. Although he did not quantify the anticipated H2 output by that date, the company produced 3.5 million tonnes of fossil-fuel-derived hydrogen in 2021 — a figure that seems unlikely to shrink — and 60% of that equates to 2.1 million tonnes.

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To put that quantity into perspective, Sinopec is currently building what it has described as the world’s largest green hydrogen plant in Kuqa, Xinjiang province, a 260MW project powered by a dedicated 361MW solar array, which is due to produce 20,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year.

It would need more than 100 similar-sized projects to produce the 2.1 million tonnes over the next few years — although there are question marks over how green the Kuqa project really is.

On Friday, China's largest H2 producer announced its medium and long-term hydrogen development strategy, which includes plans to “vigorously develop renewable hydrogen production, further expand the scale of clean and green hydrogen production and utilisation, gradually replace fossil raw materials for hydrogen production in the refining and chemical field, and promote deep decarbonisation in the industrial field”.

“In the next step, Sinopec will, with a more open attitude, cooperate with government industry funds, financial institutions and key enterprises in the industry chain to jointly initiate the establishment of an innovation and development platform for the hydrogen energy industry to support the construction of an emerging industry ecosystem,” says the company website.

China’s second-largest oil company has formed a joint venture with US electrolyser maker Cummins, called Cummins Enze, to build a 1GW PEM electrolyser factory in southern China, and it is also working with France’s Air Liquide on developing a hydrogen infrastructure network in China.

As part of its strategy, Sinopec says it will build a hydrogen refuelling capacity for vehicles of about 120,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year, but does not specify the colour of this H2. The company had previously announced plans to build 1,000 hydrogen refuelling stations by 2025 — up from 83 today.

He Jianying, deputy general manager of Sinopec’s planning and development department, told the Beijing webinar that the company plans to lead the world in the number of hydrogen refilling stations.

A version of this article previously appeared in Recharge's sister publication, Upstream.