China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) has announced that the Green Hydrogen Pilot Project it has constructed in Kuqa City of Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has commenced operation. Official start of operations at the plant, which harnesses solar energy to generate green hydrogen, marks a major stride forward for Sinopec. Its New Star Company has created a the mega project that is thought to be the largest solar-to-hydrogen project in the world and the first of its kind in China that is equipped with a photovoltaic power generation complex and power transmission lines, as well as facilities for hydrogen production by electrolysis of water, hydrogen storage and transportation, and supporting auxiliary production.

The project takes advantage of the large amount of photovoltaic resources available in Kuqa to achieve 20 000 tons per annum of hydrogen by using solar power to electrolyse water, along with the capacity to store 210 000 cubic metres of hydrogen and transport 28 000 cubic metres per hour.

As a demonstration project it serves to show the way forward for green hydrogen refining and provide an exemplary model for green hydrogen production in China. It is supplying hydrogen to Sinopec's Tahe Refining & Chemical to eliminate its use of fossil fuel-based electricity used for hydrogen production, which is expected to help it eliminate 485 000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.