Development Of Liquid Hydrogen In China And The United States And Analysis Of The Gap Between China And The United States

- Oct 17, 2019-

What is the first element in the periodic table of chemical elements? Right, hydrogen! We can't do without the combination of hydrogen and oxygen, but little is known about other applications of hydrogen. At present, the trend of energy utilization of hydrogen is becoming more and more obvious. Combining current hotspots, we are talking about the development of liquid hydrogen in China and the United States.

Not only in the transportation sector, liquid hydrogen is widely used in the national economy.

Liquid hydrogen is cooled by a process such as pre-cooling and expansion throttling, and the hydrogen is cooled to -253 ° C to become a liquid with a density of 780 times that of ordinary hydrogen, so that hydrogen can be efficiently stored and transported. The liquid hydrogen liquid propellant has the highest specific thrust, and the weight of the launch vehicle can be reduced by 50% compared to the thrust. Therefore, liquid hydrogen is the most advanced rocket propellant fuel. At the same time, at a low temperature of -253 ° C, all gas impurities except the rare gas of cerium and lanthanum are solidified and separated, so that liquid hydrogen vaporization easily obtains 6N (99.9999%) or more of ultrapure hydrogen. Compared with gaseous hydrogen purification technology such as palladium membrane purification, liquid hydrogen has the characteristics of simple, economical, high-efficiency, controllable, non-contaminating and stable quality. Therefore, liquid hydrogen is also recognized as an advanced technology that can obtain ultra-pure hydrogen on a large scale.

Ultra-pure hydrogen has an extremely wide application market in the electronics industry, especially in the production of microelectronics and optoelectronic products, including strategic emerging industries such as large-scale integrated circuit chips, flat panel displays, and photovoltaic cells. The electronics industry is the largest user of ultra-pure hydrogen. Ultra-pure hydrogen is used as reducing gas and shielding gas. It is mainly used in the fields of semiconductor devices, integrated circuit chips and liquid crystal flat panel displays, and the purity of hydrogen directly affects the final product quality. In the metallurgical industry, hydrogen can be used as a reducing agent to reduce metal oxides to metals, or as a protective atmosphere for high-temperature processing of precious metals, requiring 5N of high-purity hydrogen. At the same time, high-purity hydrogen can be used in petroleum refining and hydrorefining to obtain high-quality gasoline, lubricating oil and other products.

The national standard defines that the hydrogen purity is greater than or equal to 5N (99.999%) as high purity hydrogen, and greater than or equal to 6N (99.9999%) is ultrapure hydrogen. At present, the consumption of high-purity hydrogen and ultra-pure hydrogen in China is about 200,000 tons/year (according to statistics, the national purity of ≥99% in 2016 is about 70 billion Nm?/year, of which more than 95% is used in refining, chemical production, electronics, Metallurgy, etc., the remaining 2% to 3% is more than 5N ultra-pure hydrogen). Among them, ultra-pure hydrogen of 6N and above is easily polluted and cannot be transported in a gaseous state. The production of chips and liquid crystal displays at home and abroad are used after the use of the gas point setting purifier of the terminal, and the solution often comes from a foreign gas company. High import dependence and price monopoly make large-scale application limited and affect China's manufacturing level.

Sino-US liquid hydrogen industry gap - the world's first capacity in the world, China's national use a gap

There are dozens of liquid hydrogen plants in the world, with a total liquid hydrogen production capacity of 470 tons / day, of which North America accounts for more than 85% of the total global liquid hydrogen production capacity. There are more than 15 liquid hydrogen plants in the United States, with a liquid hydrogen production capacity of 326 tons/day or more, ranking first in the world, including Canada's 80 tons/day liquid hydrogen production capacity for the United States. The liquid hydrogen production capacity of four liquid hydrogen plants in Europe is 24 tons/day. There are 16 liquid hydrogen plants in Asia with a total capacity of 38.3 tons/day, of which Japan accounts for two-thirds of Asia's production capacity. The liquid hydrogen storage hydrogen refueling station in nearly 500 hydrogen refueling stations in the world accounts for one-third of the total, mainly distributed in the United States, Europe and Japan, and its new hydrogen refueling station is mainly based on liquid hydrogen storage. In early 2018, the consortium led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan reached an agreement with the Australian government to build a coal-to-hydrogen base plant and a hydrogen liquefaction plant in Victoria. It is expected to reach production in 2022, with a design liquefaction capacity of 770 tons/day and a low temperature of -253 °C after liquefaction. Liquid hydrogen was finally shipped to Japan via two 200,000 m? liquid hydrogen vessels.

From the current market application, the United States monopolizes 85% of the world's liquid hydrogen production and application, of which the United States AP and PRAX two groups monopolize the US 90% of the liquid hydrogen market. According to the statistics of the US Hydrogen Energy Analysis Center, as of 2016, there are 10 large-scale liquid hydrogen plants with a capacity of 5 tons/day or more in North America, of which 6 are 18 tons/day or more, and the maximum capacity is 64 tons/day. The liquid hydrogen civil use in the United States occupies the mainstream market, of which 33.5% is used in the petrochemical industry, 37.8% is used in electronics, metallurgy and other industries, and about 10% is used in fuel cell vehicle hydrogen refueling stations. Only 18.6% of liquid hydrogen is used in aerospace and scientific research.

In order to meet the growing demand in high-end manufacturing, metallurgy, energy, electronics and aerospace, the United States has increased the construction of liquid hydrogen plants in the past two years. PRAX started construction of its fifth liquefied hydrogen plant in LaPorte, Texas in November 2018. It plans to start production in 2021 with a capacity of more than 30 tons per day. In early 2019, AP Company of the United States built a 100-ton liquid hydrogen plant in the western United States, dedicated to the hydrogen energy market and supplying liquid hydrogen to FEF's hydrogen refueling station in California. At the same time, France Air Liquide will also invest 150 million US dollars. In the beginning of 2019, it will start construction of a 30-ton/day liquid hydrogen plant in the United States. It is estimated that the domestic liquid hydrogen production capacity in the United States will exceed 500 tons/day in 2021.

The liquid hydrogen plants in use in China are only Hainan Wenchang, Beijing 101 and Xichang bases, all of which serve space rocket launches. The total production capacity is only 4 tons/day, and the largest Hainan Wenchang liquid hydrogen plant has a capacity of only 2 tons/day. China's civil liquid hydrogen market is blank. It is precisely because of this that the production cost of liquid hydrogen in China is as high as 500 yuan/kg, which is more than 20 times (US$2.5/kg) in the United States, which limits the application of liquid hydrogen in high-end manufacturing, metallurgy, electronics and energy industries. There is a big gap between quality and manufacturing levels and the United States.

US's containment of China's liquid hydrogen industry - strict embargo, no exchanges, etc.

The Commercial Control List listed by the Bureau of Industry and Security of the US Department of Commerce lists 10 categories of industries, each of which is further subdivided into 5 categories, and has imposed strict embargoes on China for many years. The main use of liquid hydrogen is not only rocket propellant, but also provides ultra-pure hydrogen of more than 6N for the development and production of large-scale integrated circuits, high-end manufacturing, metallurgy, etc., so the production and application of liquid hydrogen directly involves 10 categories. There are three major categories in the industry: Category 2 “Material Processing”, Category 3 “Electronics” and Category 9 “Aerospace and Propulsion”.

System equipment and components related to large-scale liquid hydrogen production and storage, test and production equipment (such as hydrogen liquefaction plant, hydrogen expander, positive and secondary hydrogen converter, liquid hydrogen pump, liquid hydrogen valve above DN50, etc.), materials ( The carbon fiber reinforced composite materials for ultra-low temperature) and the process technology (hydrogen liquefaction equipment and process of 10 tons/day and above) are among the embargoes imposed by the United States on China. At the same time, the US government has also banned NASA (American Aerospace Administration) and US companies from the Chinese space system to carry out any form of technical exchanges and cooperation in the field of liquid hydrogen technology.

While the US embargo on technology, the United States also restricts its allies from selling equipment and technology to China. French Air Liquide and Linde Company of Germany started to sell 2 tons/day and below of hydrogen liquefaction plants to China after the development of small-sized sputum expanders and hydrogen liquefaction plants in China at the end of last world. It does not open large-scale hydrogen liquefaction technology and complete sets of equipment in the field of 10 tons/day and above to China, and also prohibits key equipment and parts such as liquid hydrogen valves, hydrogen expanders and hydrogen submersible pumps of DN50 and above.

In 2015, China achieved the independent design and small-scale production of 300m? large-scale liquid hydrogen tanks for rocket launching sites. After breaking the monopoly of developed countries in the field of liquid hydrogen storage, US companies began to regulate the liquid hydrogen storage and transportation containers in China. Relaxed. Companies such as GardnerCryogenics (the world's largest supplier of liquid hydrogen liquid helium equipment) have begun to plan the import of special equipment, and have used ISO liquid hydrogen tanks that have never been oriented to the Chinese market to enter China through the National Market Administration and industry accreditation agencies. The purpose is to support the US gas company to use liquid hydrogen tanks to export and dump US liquid hydrogen to China at a high price, and to make huge profits in the Chinese ultra-pure hydrogen market (the production cost of ultra-pure hydrogen above 6N in China exceeds 150 yuan/kg, It is about 8 times the price of liquid hydrogen in the United States.) At this time, as Chinese companies plan to integrate space technology and civilians, and develop standards and technology applications for civil liquid hydrogen storage and transportation equipment, US and French companies are promoting their own equipment and marketing liquid hydrogen, while destroying China’s hydrogen liquefaction technology. Mature, not economical, liquid hydrogen storage and transportation equipment safety is not up to standard, and questioned the Chinese civil hydrogen liquefaction, storage and transportation technology and standards, seriously intervening and hindering the development process of Chinese enterprises liquid hydrogen storage and transportation, production equipment.

Policy recommendations - large-scale development of civil liquid hydrogen production and storage technology

In view of the important use of liquid hydrogen in the national production economy and the US embargo and containment of China in this field, Chinese enterprises and research institutes should be more self-reliant and self-developed, and seek to be able to use and unite on a global scale. resource of. We have the following suggestions for this:

1. Incorporate large-scale liquid hydrogen production, storage and transportation technology into the national special strategy of the Ministry of Science and Technology, encourage domestic universities and research institutes and enterprises to carry out technological development and industrialization in related fields, and encourage friendly countries such as Russia and China to work in liquid hydrogen technology. Cooperation and exchange in the field;

2. Actively support the construction of large-scale liquid hydrogen plant demonstration projects, and vigorously support the military-civilian integration and transformation of applications of scale liquid hydrogen production, storage and transportation technologies;

3. Encourage enterprises to try first, promote the formulation and implementation of civil liquid hydrogen production, storage and transportation equipment enterprise standards and gradually increase to national standards, and enhance the development of civil liquid hydrogen market.

4. For liquid hydrogen equipment enterprises in the United States or other countries entering the Chinese market, as the State Administration of the State Administration of the regulatory authorities, industry experts should be organized to conduct in-depth inspections, technical review and supervision to learn from their advanced technology experience and enhance The technical level of liquid hydrogen equipment in China.