Facilitating expert dialogue on the development of hydrogen refueling infrastructures in Germany and China

On 22 August 2022, the energy and mobility teams of GIZ China jointly organized the online expert dialogue "Planning for the development of hydrogen refueling infrastructure in Germany and China". The expert dialogue between German and Chinese representatives of the hydrogen industry, experts and alliances allowed for an in-depth exchange on planning steps and goals for the nationwide hydrogen refueling station (HRS) infrastructure, including the necessary standards and station operation. The exchange also addressed aspects such as target setting, involving local and regional authorities as well as the security of supply.

To achieve the climate goals and a successful energy transition that combines different sustainable energy sources and at the same time remains affordable for consumers, hydrogen is expected to play a decisive role in the coming years. Hydrogen is not only a versatile energy carrier and an important sector coupling element, but also an energy storage medium that can flexibly contribute to balancing energy supply and demand. In recent years, both China and Germany have stepped up political support for the development of hydrogen energy. However, the development of HRS infrastructure is very cost-intensive. In addition to the construction of HRS, planners must develop concepts for the transport and supply of hydrogen to these stations.

The expert dialogue thus provided an exchange platform to address these topic. Together, representatives of the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport  (BMDV), the National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW GmbH), the Zhejiang Development & Planning Institute and the Hydrogen Energy Industry Committee (HEIC) of the China Energy Conservation Association gave an overview of the current developments of hydrogen technology in both countries.

The German National Hydrogen Strategy of 2020 recognizes the central role of hydrogen in the energy sector and provides around 7 billion euros in a first phase for an initial national market ramp-up. In a second phase, the ministries are promoting an increased market introduction also at international level. Currently there are about 96 operational hydrogen filling stations in Germany. In the medium- to long-term, the goal is to promote a cross-border hydrogen infrastructure in Europe. Correspondingly, a first project of hydrogen transport between Germany and the Netherlands was announced this August 2022.

In China, the development of hydrogen refueling stations has received strong political support in recent years. Since 2006, China expanded in total 270 filling stations nationwide, the majority of which are integrated filling stations that also stock conventional fuel. In 2021, the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan included hydrogen development for the first time.

In the panel discussion, experts shared their findings and clarified relevant questions on this topic. Among others, geographical layout of HRS infrastructure, construction standards, as well as the operational costs of HRS were at center of the lively discussion.

With regards to HRS infrastructure, both countries are still at an initial stage and thus international exchange on best-practices and experiences remains high on both sides agendas. German and Chinese representatives spoke out in favor of an intensified bilateral exchange on hydrogen in the future.

As part of their activities within the BMDV-funded "Sino-German Cooperation on Mobility and Fuel Strategy (MKS)" project and the BMWK-funded “Sino-German Energy Partnership” project, both GIZ implemented projects will continue to support the bilateral exchange on this topic. For further information, please contact Mr. Maximilian Ryssel (maximilian.ryssel(at)giz.de) or Alexander von Monschaw (alexander.monschaw(at)giz.de).