Accelerating a hydrogen-based future in South China

Sep 14, 2017

September 7, Foshan- The world is moving towards an eventually ban on combustion, with countries such as the UK and France recently announcing to prohibit the production of fossil fuel cars by 2040. China is currently working on its own timeline for making such a profound change, as part of the efforts to help achieve its goal in reducing CO2 emissions. The upgrading of its automobile industry into a clean and efficient one is much needed.

As one of the five demonstration pilots of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - Global Environment Facility (GEF) project “Accelerating the Development and Commercialization of Fuel Cell Vehicles in China”, the Foshan City Nanhai District initiated the project under the witness of representatives from government, academia and private sectors.

The newly launched project is the continuation of a decade-long UNDP initiative to develop fuel cell vehicles together with Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST). The GEF supported programme has been working on utilizing the innovative solution of hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles to help mitigate the impacts of climate change and improve the lives of many in China.

undp-CH-EE-2017 fuelcellbus

“Using the same economic, production, and consumption models cannot be sustained.” said Patrick Haverman, Deputy Country Director of UNDP China in his opening remarks. “Countries need affordable, scalable clean energy solutions in order to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.”

As one type of the electric vehicles, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles possess the advantages over other battery EV such due to the fast refueling speed (refueled within 10 minutes to run for around 500 km), and low maintenance needed. Moreover, powered by hydrogen, fuel cells can provide energy to vehicles and serve as an alternative power source, without producing carbon-dioxide and other pollutants. Hydrogen, if produced from renewable energies, can be a carbon-dioxide free energy as well.

Meanwhile, obstacles still exist in hindering the commercialization of FCVs in China. These include the lack of national and local policy, regulations and technical standards to guide the sound development of this industry. In order to make hydrogen a clean and future energy solution, renewable energy sources for the future hydrogen production are needed. The new subproject launched in Foshan was designed to help address the above mentioned barriers by piloting the operation of Fuel Cell Vehicles and the related hydrogen infrastructure, and by promoting the construction of the related whole industrial value chain, contributing to the commercialized production and application of FCVs in China by 2020.

UNDP-CH-EE- Foshan 2017.1

To date, the first commercially operated Hydrogen refiling station has been in operation in Foshan Nanhai District, and there will be a bus line that will consists of fuel cell buses operating in the city. To further boost the new energy (hydrogen) vehicle industry development, the local government also issued the Incentive Policy on Promoting the New Energy Vehicle Industry Development of Nanhai District, Foshan City at the launching event.

To create synergies among cities and promote regional industries development, China has sketched a grand plan to establish the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay area, or China Grand Bay. To further promote the fuel cell technology and hydrogen energy application in this area, UNDP has signed a project agreement with the local government at the event, to work on design a hydrogen-based economy pilot project and to build a low-carbon and sustainable future.

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