China's Hebei approves $1.2 bln hydrogen production and consumption projects

BEIJING, April 3 (Reuters) - Hebei, China's industrial hub, approved 43 hydrogen projects for production, equipment manufacturing, filling station and fuel cells, totalling 8.75 billion yuan ($1.23 billion), according to a statement from its provincial planner.

Home to a quarter of China's steelmaking capacity, Hebei has been seeking to upgrade its industrial structure by turning to less-polluted and higher-value-added sectors including equipment manufacturing for metro and wind turbine.

"We will support Zhangjiakou to take the opportunity of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics to lead the hydrogen development," the Hebei Development and Reform Commision said in its statement.

Zhangjiakou aims to become the hydrogen capital in China, reaching annual hydrogen production capacity of 21,000 tonnes by 2021 and 50,000 tonnes by 2035.

Twenty-one of the total 43 hydrogen-related projects that Hebei government has approved will be located in Zhangjiakou.

The Hebei government also said it would support steelmaking hub Tangshan and Handan to launch pilot hydrogen consumption projects as they can help churn out energy during the steelmaking process.

HBIS Group, China's second-largest steel maker, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last November with Italy's mining service company, Tenova Group, to build the world's first hydrogen metallurgy demonstration project with a production capacity of 1.2 million tonnes.

HBIS plans to set up a project in Handan to produce 3 tonnes of hydrogen from coke oven gas and 380 tonnes of liquefied natural gas via copious cooling process per day, and start four hydrogen filling stations.

Hebei also plans to set up five hydrogen fuel cell production lines and two hydrogen-fuelled vehicle production projects.

The provincial government urged city authorities to prioritise paper works and help accelerate the construction of the 43 projects, the statement said.

($1 = 7.0868 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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