Anglo Dutch supermajor Shell is expanding its presence in China’s emerging hydrogen energy industry, lining up with major local players to jointly pursue green hydrogen projects in the world’s largest energy consuming country.

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Early this week, the supermajor via its China outfit Shell China signed an agreement with the country’s major green energy project developer Shanghai Electric to jointly pursue green hydrogen developments.

The agreement also provides scope for the companies to pursue carbon capture and storage projects, with the aim of reducing emissions from traditional grey hydrogen production.

The cooperation will be carried out in “down-to-earth and practical manner,” Shanghai Electric said without giving details, but sources close to the companies said that cooperator could cover an integrated hydrogen value chain involving hydrogen production, storage, transportation, refuelling and applications.

Both companies will work together to capitalise on their strengths in technology, resources, talent and marketing to bring key green hydrogen and CCS projects to fruition.

Shanghai Electric's hydrogen plans

Well-informed sources said that Shanghai Electric is keen to tap Shell’s expertise in managing and operating hydrogen-driven vehicles and hydrogen refuelling stations as it has rolled out plans to operate 3000 units of hydrogen fuel cell trucks at the Yangtze River Delta region in the country’s east by 2025.

Two years ago, Shanghai Electric gained a minor stake in energy developer Shanghai Sunwise to venture into hydrogen retailing in Shanghai. In April this year, Shanghai Electric inaugurated a major hydrogen refuestation in Hainan province, with capacity to supply 500 kilograms of hydrogen daily.

Shanghai Electric is also working with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to develop offshore wind-based green hydrogen.

The company is also tasked by Shanghai authorities to develop a master plan for Shanghai’s hydrogen refuelling business.

Shell's hydrogen footprint in China

Shell has already set foot in China’s green hydrogen industry, having formed a joint venture with ZJK JT last year, which marked Shell’s first commercial venture for its hydrogen business in China.

Located in Zhangjiakou City, ZJK JT plans to build a 20-megawatt hydrogen electrolyser that will produce green hydrogen from abundant wind and solar resources in Hebei province.

The hydrogen will be used in refuelling stations in Zhangjiakou, about 200 kilometres north of Beijing, which will co-host the Winter Olympics next year and deploy 1000 vehicles to support the event.

Shell holds 47.5% stake in the 250 million yuan ($39 million) venture, with Zhangjiakou Communication Investment holding 48.5% and Zhangjiakou Zhiqing Technology holding the remainder.

The first phase will involve building a hydrogen plant with annual capacity of 3000 metric tonnes of green hydrogen and three hydrogen refuelling stations.

In 2007, Shell has supported Tongji University to design Shanghai’s first hydrogen refuelling station.

Globally, Shell is developing green hydrogen projects in the USA, Germany and Japan.

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