Shell has started production at a 20MW electrolyser in Zhangjiakou, China, which will supply about half of the wind-powered green hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles at the competition zone in Hebei province during the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, set to begin on 4 February 2022.

The oil & gas supermajor said the electrolyser, which is owned by a joint venture between Shell and Zhangjiakou City Transport Construction, is one of the world's largest.

While the most ambitious projects in Europe, Asia and Australia to produce green hydrogen already have reached gigawatt levels, none them have reached their construction phase yet.

Among the larger projects with a Shell involvement are a plan to build a 200MW green H2 electrolyser in the port of Rotterdam, and the AquaVentus plan to produce the green gas from up to 10GW of offshore wind power in Germany.

“The electrolyser is the largest in our portfolio to date and is in line with Shell’s Powering Progress strategy, which includes plans to build on our leading position in hydrogen,” said Wael Sawan, Shell’s Integrated Gas, Renewable and Energy Solutions Director.

“We see opportunities across the hydrogen supply chain in China, including its production, storage and shipping.”

The joint venture has plans to scale up to an electrolyser capacity of 60MW in the next two years in phase two of the project.

Taking 13 months to complete, Shell said this is its first commercial hydrogen development project in China.

The project utilises onshore wind power and will initially supply green hydrogen to fuel a fleet of more than 600 fuel cell vehicles at the Winter Olympics.

After that, the hydrogen will be used for public and commercial transport in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, helping to decarbonise the mobility sector.

Measured by production capacity, the world’s largest hydrogen electrolyser is 30MW operated by Baofeng Energy in China, while the second largest is a 20MW one operated by Air Liquide in Canada, said Shell.

The Zhangjiakou facility is one of only three commercial-scale electrolysers in China alongside the 30MW one operated by Baofeng Energy and a 10MW electrolyser operated by HyPower in Hebei province, according to oil company.