Mr Sun G Guomin, General Secretary of CIGIA, opened the conference, and welcomed all participants and speakers. He focused on current efforts by China to embrace the Hydrogen Economy, and said that this was the first of what he hoped would be an annual forum on the subject.
He explained that there are ten cars using hydrogen as fuel already in operation in the Shanghai area. The cars, one of which was on show at the venue, have been developed by a joint venture between Volkswagen and Tongji University. Mr Sun mentioned that the aim was to have 10 000 cars running off hydrogen by 2020 \\$quot;“ a very ambitious target, but a challenge that needed to be met. He added that the first hydrogen-powered bus route (Route 863) was already operational.
Mr Chang, guest of honour from the Ministry of Chemistry and Industry, began proceedings by saying that China was already developing Hydrogen and other new energy sources to solve the future demand for power and transport in an environmentally safe way. He stated that there are two important milestones for the Chinese Government: the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and the Shanghai Expo in 2010, by which he hopes China will be in a position to be operating a commercially viable hydrogen economy. They expect to have 1000 cars operating by Shanghai Expo.
The Beijing Olympics 2008 and Shanghai Expo 2010 are key milestones towards the hydrogen economy///
Professor Keith Guy, partner in the Spiritus Group, opened the presentations and stated that the worldwide demand for hydrogen was about 524 bn cubic metres in 2005. While consumed in Ammonia and Methanol production the growth of hydrogen was running at a total of 4-5 per cent per year. However, the demand for outsourcing hydrogen (in which the gas companies have an interest) was averaging 14 per cent per year. Drivers for growth included European, US and Asian legislation for cleaner fuels, an increase in demand for transport and heating fuels and the fact that crude oil production is becoming more sour and therefore needs more sulphur extraction. Professor Guy stated that the worldwide market for outsourced hydrogen was $4bn in 2005.
He finished with an interesting comment \\$quot;“ the use of hydrogen as an energy vector was 0.01 per cent of the world\\$quot;s total energy source and that hydrogen has a long way to go before it makes any major inroad as an energy vector.
Mr Xing from Air Liquide discussed the company\\$quot;s involvement in hydrogen from the large-scale needs in refineries, in which Air Liquide is the world\\$quot;s number two supplier, and the European Space Programme through to fuel cells used in motorised wheelchairs. Air Liquide has approximately 1700 km of hydrogen pipeline systems spread globally. Air Liquide is part of the Hychain project involving 24 partners in Spain, France, Germany and Spain.
Mr Li Kebing discussed the fact that the majority of hydrogen produced in China today is from coal \\$quot;“ using either the Shell or Texaco processes. The largest plant to date was commissioned last year and was 28 000 Nm3/hr in size. However, China has been involved in hydrogen PSA systems since 1972.
Mark Watkins from Hyradix, a US based small sized hydrogen plant producer, compared the current merchant use of hydrogen supplied in either liquid, high pressure tube trailer or in high pressure cylinder packs. Steam Methane Reforming was invented in the 1940s but auto reforming was only developed in the 1960s. UOP had taken the large scale auto-thermal route and scaled this down; this is the process adopted by Hyradix for their small plants. One of the aims is for such plants to replace tube-trailer supplied hydrogen - a typical tube trailer weighs 18 000 kgs and only contains 270 kg of hydrogen gas. Hyradix had developed a unique catalyst that provides a two step conversion of various feedstocks to produce a pure grade hydrogen stream of 99.95 per cent.
The final presentation was by Bob Lilly of ACD, discussing the intricacies of the company\\$quot;s liquid hydrogen pump.
Mr Sun then rounded up a very interesting and successful first forum, attended by 120 delegates, 20 of whom were from overseas. The forum also included a lively debate on the future of the Hydrogen Forum and emphasis on the use of hydrogen in the energy chain.
CIGIA and Spiritus
The Chinese Industrial Gases Association, in association with The Spiritus Group, held its first ever Hydrogen Forum in Beijing on 12 September. The major aim of the conference was to gather to together experts in the field of Hydrogen, Chinese gas companies and representatives from the Chinese oil and chemicals sector to discuss how hydrogen will become an important component in both reducing atmospheric pollutants such as SO2 and NO2 and also as an alternative energy vector.