■Category： Category: Fuel Cell, Date: March 26th, 2019
【Visit to SinoHytec and the China’s first hydrogen station at Yongfeng】
On March 21st, 2019, together with NEDO’s Beijing office, we visited SinoHytec, a leading Chinese fuel cell system manufacturer, and Yongfenf hydrogen station, which is managed and operated by the company. SinoHytec’s vice CEO, Mr. Li Jiaxin with three SinoHytec employees and Mr. Zhao Hui from HyPower, a partner with SinoHytec in the construction and operation of hydrogen stations welcomed us.
Photo 1. Person in the center of the photo is Mr. Li Jiaxin with us.
At the meeting, they introduced SinoHytec’s business, their latest fuel cell systems, and some of the latest initiatives, a fuel cell system production plant being constructed for the Beijing Winter Olympics.
SinoHytec was established in Beijing in 2012 with the investment of Tsinghua University Education Fundation, investment companies and individual investors. Supported in technologies by Tsinghua University’s New Energy Vehicle Technology Center and partnered with Hydrogenicsin Canada in 2015 to supply fuel cell stacks, SinoHytec’s FC stacks have been adopted in many commercial vehicles since they acquiredSinoFuelCell(上海神力), the oldest fuel cell(stack) developer in China. In 2018, they have a top share, 27%, in the FC system market in China.Their products have been evaluated for its low-temperature start-up capability (being able to start up at -30℃ ) and for high efficiency and product stability. They delivered them to 7 OEMs’ 23 types of vehicles. (Dongfeng(东风), Zhongdong(中通), Zev(中植), Yutong(宇通), Foton(福田), Higer(海格), and Ankai(安凯)).
Mr. Wang Gang (万钢), Vice Chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Chairman of the Chinese Association of Science and Technology, also named SInoHytec as a role model of a fuel cell maker at a speech of FCVC 2018 in Rugao. The government also strongly supports SinoHytec, and they can be said one of the fastest-growing FC manufacturers.
In January 2019, it was announced that SinoHytec, SPIC (国家电投)and Foton signed a strategic alliance for the Winter Beijing Olyimpics and for joint promotion of the construction of hydrogen stations and demonstration of FCVs. SinoHytec has knowhow in systematizing fuel cells for vehicles, SPIC has resources in FC stack development, hydrogen production, storage, and transport, and construction of hydrogen station. Foton has expertise on developing new energy vehicles (light to medium-sized trucks, buses, etc.) and has already invested FC buses in city public bus demonstration projects.
To respond to the demand for FCVs for the Winter Olympics and the nationwide growing demand for FCVs, their fuel cell system production plant is currently under construction in Zhangjiakou near Beijing. The first phase of construction has already been completed with an annual production capacity of 2,000 sets. The second phase of construction has begun and is expected to be completed in 2019 to reach an annual production capacity of 10,000 sets. On the other hand, a 10MW-class water electrolysis hydrogen production plant using abandoned wind power is being constructed in the north of Zhangjiakou to supply 1,580 tons of hydrogen per year to hydrogen stations in Zhangjiakou City.
SinoHytec has been a system integrator of fuel cells. But, as symbolized by the acquisition SinoFuelCell, they have a development policy of “from outer shell to inner shell” and is currently aiming to develop FC stacks, which is more challenging to develop, and to manufacture core components like MEA.
They consider that they will diversify their fuel cell designs to meet the various performance requirements that differ depending on the environment and vehicle type in each region and will take the market share by supplying products that are optimal to each need. As part of this initiative, SinoHytec has established its own fuel cell R&D center in Canada last year and plans to establish an R&D center in Japan in 2019 as well.
After the meeting, we toured Yongfeng hydrogen station, the China’s oldest hydrogen station, where is a 30-minute drive from the company. It was built by BP and Tsinghua University in 2018 for the Beijing Olympics. It is still operated today, supplying 200 kg of hydrogen per day to around 30 fuel cell buses in average. Most of the fuel cell buses are used as commuter buses for companies in the area, and only five public buses, made by Foton, have been put into trial operation since the end of 2018. Those interested in boarding can take the public bus line 384 in Haidian District.
Below, I describe the station with pictures when I visited in October 2018. Due to safety requirements, the site is designed to be large.
There are many fuel cell buses on the street near the station.