China Petrochemical Corp has announced plans to build the country’s first long-distance hydrogen pipeline stretching over 400km from Inner Mongolia to Beijing.

The company, which is the nation’s largest oil refiner and fuel supplier, claims that the pipeline will bolster China’s efforts towards the green energy transition.

“When completed, it will replace the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region’s fossil fuel-based hydrogen production and help meet [growing] hydrogen demand in the transport sector,” the company claimed in a statement.

China Petrochemical Corp is also the parent company of fuel supplier China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec).

The pipeline will stretch from Ulanqab in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region to Sinopec’s Yanshan petrochemical processing plant in Beijing. The hydrogen will be used to power green energy projects in Beijing’s industrial centre.

The pipeline will have a transmission capacity of 100,000 tonnes in the short term with plans to expand capacity to 500,000 tonnes. China Petrochemical Corp plans to incorporate a number of connection points across the length of the pipeline.

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By GlobalData

Beijing hopes for 14% of its energy to come from renewable sources by 2025. China has set the dual target of reaching peak carbon emissions by 2030 and net-zero emissions across the country by 2060.

The “west to east” pipeline forms a part of the national fuel transmission network development blueprint.

Green hydrogen

The pipeline will transport green hydrogen, which is produced using renewable energy sources. Inner Mongolia has high renewable capacity due to its geological composition.

In February, Sinopec announced the development of a new green hydrogen project set to produce 30,000 tonnes of hydrogen. The project will use solar and wind energy sources located in the Inner Mongolia region.

The company claims that the green hydrogen will be used for “the carbon reduction initiatives of the adjacent ZTHC Energy intensive coal processing pilot project in Erdos”.

The Erdos project is a $828m dollar investment. Sinopec claims that it will reduce carbon emissions by 1.43 million tonnes annually.

Sinopec claims that the project is the “world’s largest green hydrogen-coal chemical project,” however, while the hydrogen is green, critics have noted that producing chemicals from coal is a highly polluting practice.

According to Ma Yongsheng, Sinopec’s chairman: “Looking ahead, Sinopec, as China’s largest hydrogen production enterprise, will continue advancing hydrogen energy industry chain development in China with the R&D of innovative technologies, a forward-looking roadmap and comprehensive industry layout”.