Ally’s Technological Innovation, Popularization and Application of Hydrogen Energy Production


Innovation, popularization and application of hydrogen energy production technology -- a case study of Ally Hi-Tech

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Editor’s note: This is an article originally published by Wechat official account: China Thinktank

On March 23, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration of China jointly issued the medium and long term plan for the development of hydrogen energy industry (2021-2035) (hereinafter referred to as the plan), which defined the energy attribute of hydrogen and proposed that hydrogen energy is an integral part of the future national energy system and the key direction of strategic new industries. Fuel cell vehicle is the leading field of hydrogen energy application and the breakthrough of industrial development in China.

In 2021, driven by the national fuel cell vehicle demonstration and application policy, the five urban agglomerations of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanghai, Guangdong, Hebei and Henan were successively launched, the large-scale demonstration and application of 10000 fuel cell vehicles began to be launched, and the development of hydrogen energy industry driven by fuel cell vehicle demonstration and application has been put into practice.

At the same time, breakthroughs have also been made in the application and exploration of hydrogen energy in non transportation fields such as steel, chemical industry and construction. In the future, diversified and multi scenario applications of hydrogen energy will bring a large demand for hydrogen. According to the prediction of China Hydrogen Energy Alliance, by 2030, China's demand for hydrogen will reach 35 million tons, and hydrogen energy will account for at least 5% of China's terminal energy system; By 2050, the demand for hydrogen will be close to 60 million tons, hydrogen energy accounts for more than 10% of China's terminal energy system, and the annual output value of the industrial chain will reach 12 trillion yuan.

From the perspective of industrial development, China's hydrogen energy industry is still in the early stage of development. In the process of hydrogen energy application, demonstration and promotion, the insufficient supply and high cost of hydrogen for energy has always been a difficult problem restricting the development of China's hydrogen energy industry. As the core link of hydrogen supply, the problems of high ex-factory price and high storage and transportation cost of vehicle hydrogen are still prominent.
Therefore, China urgently needs to speed up the innovation, popularization and application of low-cost hydrogen production technology, improve the economy of demonstration application by reducing the cost of hydrogen energy supply, support the large-scale demonstration application of fuel cell vehicles, and then drive the development of the whole hydrogen energy industry.

The High Price of Hydrogen is a Prominent Problem in the Development of China's Hydrogen Energy Industry
China is a large country producing hydrogen. Hydrogen production is distributed in petrochemical, chemical, coking and other industries. Most of the hydrogen produced is used as intermediate products for petroleum refining, synthetic ammonia, methanol and other chemical products. According to the statistics of China Hydrogen Energy Alliance, the current hydrogen production in China is about 33 million tons, mainly from coal, natural gas and other fossil energy and industrial by-product gas purification. Among them, the output of hydrogen production from coal is 21.34 million tons, accounting for 63.5%. Followed by industrial by-product hydrogen and natural gas hydrogen production, with output of 7.08 million tons and 4.6 million tons respectively. Hydrogen production by water electrolysis is relatively small, about 500000 tons.

Although the industrial hydrogen production process is mature, the industrial chain is complete and the acquisition is relatively convenient, the supply of energy hydrogen still faces great challenges. The higher raw material cost and transportation cost of hydrogen production lead to the higher terminal supply price of hydrogen. In order to realize large-scale popularization and application of hydrogen energy technology, the key is to break through the bottleneck of high hydrogen acquisition cost and transportation cost. Among the existing hydrogen production methods, the cost of coal hydrogen production is low, but the carbon emission level is high. The energy consumption cost of hydrogen production by water electrolysis in large industries is high.

Even with low electricity, the hydrogen production cost is more than 20 yuan / kg. The low cost and low carbon emission level of hydrogen production from power abandonment of renewable energy is an important direction for obtaining hydrogen in the future. At present, the technology is gradually mature, but the acquisition location is relatively remote, the transportation cost is very high, and there is no promotion and application scenario. From the perspective of hydrogen cost composition, 30 ~ 45% of the price of energy hydrogen is the cost of hydrogen transportation and filling. The existing hydrogen transportation technology based on high-pressure gas hydrogen has less single vehicle transportation volume, poor economic value of long-distance transportation, and the technologies of solid-state storage and transportation and liquid hydrogen are not mature. The outsourcing of gas hydrogen in hydrogen refueling station is still the main way.

In the current management specification, hydrogen is still listed as hazardous chemicals management. Large scale industrial hydrogen production needs to enter the chemical industry park. Large scale hydrogen production does not match the demand for hydrogen for decentralized vehicles, resulting in high hydrogen prices. A highly integrated hydrogen production and refueling technology is urgently needed to achieve a breakthrough. The price level of natural gas hydrogen production is reasonable, which can realize large-scale and stable supply. Therefore, in areas with relatively abundant natural gas, the integrated hydrogen production and refueling station based on natural gas is a feasible hydrogen supply option and a realistic path to promote the hydrogen refueling station to reduce the cost and solve the difficult problem of refueling in some areas. At present, there are about 237 skid mounted integrated hydrogen production stations in the world, accounting for about 1 / 3 of the total number of foreign hydrogen refueling stations. Among them, Japan, Europe, North America and other regions widely adopt the operation mode of integrated hydrogen production and refueling station in the station. In terms of domestic situation, Foshan, Weifang, Datong, Zhangjiakou and other places have begun to explore the pilot construction and operation of integrated hydrogen production and refueling stations. It can be predicted that after the breakthrough of hydrogen management and hydrogen production policies and regulations, the integrated hydrogen production and refueling station will be the realistic choice for the commercial operation of the hydrogen refueling station.

Experience in Innovation, Popularization and Application of Hydrogen Production Technology of Ally Hi-Tech
As a leading enterprise in the field of hydrogen production in China, Ally Hi-Tech has been focusing on the research and development of new energy solutions and advanced hydrogen production technologies since its establishment for more than 20 years. In the fields of small-scale natural gas hydrogen production technology, catalytic oxidation methanol hydrogen production technology, high-temperature water electrolysis hydrogen production technology, ammonia decomposition hydrogen production technology, small-scale synthetic ammonia technology, large monomer methanol converter, integrated hydrogen production and hydrogenation system, vehicle hydrogen directional purification technology, many breakthroughs have been made in cutting-edge technical fields such as listed above.

Continue to promote technological innovation in hydrogen production.
Ally Hi-Tech always takes hydrogen production as the core of its business, and continues to carry out technological innovation in hydrogen production such as methanol conversion, natural gas reforming and PSA directional purification of hydrogen. Among them, a single set of methanol conversion hydrogen production equipment independently developed and designed by the company has a hydrogen production capacity of 20000 Nm ³/ h. The maximum pressure reaches 3.3Mpa, reaching the international advanced level, with the advantages of low energy consumption, safety and reliability, simple process, unattended and so on; The company has made a breakthrough in the hydrogen production technology of natural gas reforming (SMR method).

The heat exchange reforming technology is adopted, and the hydrogen production capacity of a single set of equipment is up to 30000Nm ³/ h. The maximum pressure can reach 3.0MPa, the investment cost is greatly reduced, and the energy consumption of natural gas is reduced by 33%; In terms of pressure swing adsorption (PSA) hydrogen directional purification technology, the company has developed a variety of complete sets of hydrogen purification technologies, and the hydrogen production capacity of a single set of equipment is 100000 Nm ³/ h. The maximum pressure is 5.0MPa. It has the characteristics of high degree of automation, simple operation, good environment and long service life. It has been widely used in the field of industrial gas separation.

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Figure 1: H2 Production Equipment Set by Ally Hi-Tech

Attention paid to the development and promotion of hydrogen energy series products.

While carrying out hydrogen production technology innovation and product development, Ally Hi-Tech pays attention to expanding the product development in the field of downstream hydrogen fuel cells, actively promotes the R & D and application of catalysts, adsorbents, control valves, modular small hydrogen production equipment and long-life fuel cell power supply system, and vigorously promotes the technology and equipment of integrated hydrogen production and hydrogenation station. In terms of product promotion, the professional qualification of Ally Hi-Tech engineering design is comprehensive. It is committed to providing one-stop hydrogen energy solution products and services, and the product market application is promoted rapidly.

Breakthroughs have been made in the application of hydrogen production equipment.

At present, more than 620 sets of hydrogen production and hydrogen purification equipment have been built by Ally Hi-Tech. Among them, Ally Hi-Tech has promoted more than 300 sets of methanol hydrogen production equipment, more than 100 sets of natural gas hydrogen production equipment and more than 130 sets of large PSA project equipment, and has undertaken a number of hydrogen production projects of national topics.

Ally Hi-Tech has cooperated with famous companies at home and abroad, such as Sinopec, PetroChina, Zhongtai Chemical, Plug Power Inc. America, Air Liquid France, Linde Germany, Praxair America, Iwatani Japan, BP and so on. It is one of the complete sets of equipment service providers with the largest supply in the field of small and medium-sized hydrogen production equipment in the world. At present, the Ally Hi-Tech hydrogen production equipment has been exported to 16 countries and regions such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand and South Africa. In 2019, the third-generation integrated natural gas hydrogen production equipment of Ally Hi-Tech was exported to American Plug Power Inc., which was designed and manufactured in full accordance with American standards, creating a precedent for China's natural gas hydrogen production equipment to be exported to the United States.

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Figure 2. Hydrogen production and hydrogenation integrated equipment exported by Ally Hi-Tech to the United States

Construction of first batch of hydrogen production and hydrogenation integrated station.

In view of the practical problems of unstable sources and high prices of hydrogen for energy, Ally High-Tech is committed to promoting the application of highly integrated hydrogen production technology, and using the existing mature methanol supply system, natural gas pipeline network, CNG and LNG filling stations to reconstruct and expand the integrated hydrogen production and refueling station. In September 2021, the first domestic integrated natural gas hydrogen production and hydrogenation station under the general contract of Ally Hi-Tech was put into operation at Foshan gas Nanzhuang hydrogenation station.

The station is designed with one set of 1000kg / day natural gas reforming hydrogen production unit and one set of 100kg / day water electrolysis hydrogen production unit, with an external hydrogenation capacity of 1000kg / day. It is a typical "hydrogen production + compression + storage + filling" integrated hydrogenation station. It takes the lead in applying environment-friendly wide temperature change catalyst and directional co purification technology in the industry, which improves the hydrogen production efficiency by 3% and effectively reduces the energy consumption of hydrogen production. The station has high integration, small floor area and highly integrated hydrogen production equipment.

The hydrogen production in the station reduces the hydrogen transportation links and the cost of hydrogen storage and transportation, which directly reduces the cost of hydrogen consumption. The station has reserved an external interface, which can fill long tube trailers and serve as the parent station to provide hydrogen source for the surrounding hydrogenation stations, forming a regional hydrogenation sub parent integrated station. In addition, this integrated hydrogen production and hydrogenation station can also be reconstructed and expanded based on the existing methanol distribution system, natural gas pipeline network and other facilities, as well as gas stations and CNG & LNG filling stations, which is easy to promote and implement.

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Figure 3 Integrated hydrogen production and hydrogenation station in Nanzhuang, Foshan, Guangdong

Actively leads industry innovation, promotion and application and international exchanges and cooperation.

As a key high-tech enterprise of the national Torch Program, a new economy demonstration enterprise in Sichuan Province and a specialized and special new enterprise in Sichuan Province, Ally Hi-Tech actively leads industry innovation and promotes international exchanges and cooperation. Since 2005, Ally Hi-Tech has successively provided hydrogen production technology and equipment in the major national 863 fuel cell projects - Shanghai Anting hydrogen refueling station, Beijing Olympic hydrogen refueling station and Shanghai World Expo hydrogen refueling station, and provided all hydrogen production station projects of China's space launch center with high standards.

As a member of the national Hydrogen Energy Standardization Committee, Ally Hi-Tech has actively participated in the construction of hydrogen energy standard system at home and abroad, led the drafting of one national hydrogen energy standard, and participated in the formulation of seven national standards and one international standard. At the same time, Ally Hi-Tech has actively promoted international exchanges and cooperation, established Chengchuan Technology Co., Ltd. in Japan, developed a new generation of hydrogen production technology, SOFC cogeneration technology and related products, and carried out cooperation with companies in the United States, Germany and Japan in the fields of new water electrolysis hydrogen production technology and small-scale synthetic ammonia technology. With 45 patents from China, the United States and the European Union, Ally Hi-Tech is a typical technology-based and export-oriented enterprise.

Policy Suggestion
According to the above analysis, based on the innovation of hydrogen production technology, Ally Hi-Tech has made breakthroughs in the development of hydrogen production equipment, the promotion and application of hydrogen production equipment, the construction and operation of integrated hydrogen production and refueling station, which is of great significance to China's independent technological innovation of hydrogen energy and reducing the cost of energy hydrogen consumption. In order to ensure and improve hydrogen energy supply, accelerate the construction of a safe, stable and efficient hydrogen energy supply network and build a clean, low-carbon and low-cost diversified hydrogen production system, China needs to strengthen hydrogen production technology innovation and product development, break through the constraints of policies and regulations, and encourage new equipment and models with market potential to try first. By further improving supporting policies and optimizing the industrial environment, we will help China's hydrogen energy industry develop with high quality and strongly support the green transformation of energy.

Improve the policy system of hydrogen energy industry.
At present, the "strategic positioning and supporting policies of hydrogen energy industry" have been issued, but the specific development direction of hydrogen energy industry has not been specified. In order to break the institutional obstacles and policy bottlenecks of industrial development, China needs to strengthen policy innovation, formulate perfect hydrogen energy management norms, clarify the management processes and management institutions of preparation, storage, transportation and filling, and implement the responsibilities of the responsible department of safety supervision. Adhere to the model of demonstration application driving industrial development, and comprehensively promote the diversified demonstration development of hydrogen energy in transportation, energy storage, distributed energy and so on.

Build a hydrogen energy supply system according to local conditions.
Local governments should comprehensively consider the hydrogen energy supply capacity, industrial foundation and market space in the region, based on the advantages of existing and potential resources, select appropriate hydrogen production methods according to local conditions, carry out the construction of hydrogen energy supply guarantee capacity, give priority to the use of industrial by-product hydrogen, and focus on the development of hydrogen production from renewable energy. Encourage qualified regions to cooperate through multiple channels to build a low-carbon, safe, stable and economic local hydrogen energy supply system to meet the supply demand of large-scale hydrogen sources.

Increase technological innovation of hydrogen production equipment.

Focus on promoting the R & D, manufacturing and industrial application of key equipment for hydrogen purification and hydrogen production, and build a high-quality development technology system for hydrogen energy equipment products by relying on advantageous enterprises in the industrial chain. Support leading enterprises in the field of hydrogen production to take the lead, lay out innovation platforms such as industrial innovation center, engineering research center, technological innovation center and manufacturing innovation center, tackle key problems of hydrogen production equipment, support "specialized and special new" small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in the research and development of common technologies of hydrogen production equipment, and cultivate a number of single champion enterprises with strong independent ability of core technology.

Strengthen policy support for integrated hydrogen production and hydrogenation stations.

The Plan points out that to explore new models such as hydrogen stations integrating hydrogen production, storage and hydrogenation in the station, we need to break through the policy constraints on the construction of integrated stations from the root. Introduce the national energy law as soon as possible to determine the energy attribute of hydrogen from the upper level. Break through the restrictions on the construction of integrated stations, promote integrated hydrogen production and hydrogenation stations, and carry out pilot demonstration of the construction and operation of integrated stations in economically developed areas with rich natural gas resources. Provide financial subsidies for the construction and operation of integrated stations that meet the requirements of price economy and carbon emission standards, support relevant leading enterprises to apply for national "specialized and special new" enterprises, and improve the safety technical specifications and standards of integrated hydrogen production and hydrogenation stations.

Actively carry out demonstration and promotion of new business models.

Encourage business model innovation in the form of integrated hydrogen production in stations, comprehensive energy supply stations for oil, hydrogen and electricity, and coordinated operation of "hydrogen, vehicles and stations". In areas with a large number of fuel cell vehicles and high pressure on hydrogen supply, we will explore integrated stations for hydrogen production and hydrogenation from natural gas, and encourage areas with reasonable natural gas prices and demonstration operation of fuel cell vehicles. In areas with abundant wind and hydropower resources and hydrogen energy application scenarios, build integrated hydrogen production and hydrogenation stations with renewable energy, gradually expand the demonstration scale, form replicable and popularized experience, and accelerate the carbon and cost reduction of energy hydrogen.

(Author: future industry research team of Beijing Yiwei Zhiyuan Information Consulting Center)

Post time: Sep-29-2022

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