Shell will tap renewable power to produce green hydrogen in a first foray into the sector in China that will help fuel infrastructure for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The oil supermajor formed a joint venture with ZJK JT, a company of Zhangjiakou City, to build a 20MW hydrogen electrolyser that will produce green hydrogen from abundant wind and solar resources in Hebei province.

The H2 will be used in hydrogen refuelling stations in Zhangjiakou, less than 200km from Beijing, which will co-host the Winter Olympics in two years and deploy 1,000 vehicles to support the event – a figure Shell said the 20MW electrolyser would be sufficient to fuel.

Shell said the JV is the first commercial venture for its hydrogen business in China.

Zhang Xinsheng, executive chairman of Shell Companies in China said: “Zhangjiakou City has established a rather complete policy guarantee system for hydrogen development, and the rich renewable energy resources here can provide the electricity needed for zero-carbon hydrogen production, supplying clean energy safely in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

“We are excited to work with local government and our business partners to develop an integrated hydrogen value chain covering hydrogen production, storage, transportation, refueling and applications.”

Like other global oil majors Shell is pursuing a twin-track hydrogen strategy that includes the blue variety from carbon-abated gas and green H2 from renewable-powered electrolysis.

Shell has already identified another economic powerhouse, Germany, as a test bed for green hydrogen supply with plans for 100MW of electrolyser capacity there.

Elsewhere in Europe Shell’s most notable green hydrogen plan could see it build the world’s largest offshore wind project off the Netherland’s to power H2 production.