LONGi Signs up for Green Hydrogen With Special Unit

LONGi Green Energy, the largest solar manufacturer globally, has gone ahead and incorporated a business unit in March to explore and get in early into the green Hydrogen market. LONGi has a targeted manufacturing capacity of 40 GW in modules, 20 GW in cells, and mono ingots at 65 GW.

The move by LONGi really shouldn’t surprise, considering how we have reported earlier on the implications for renewable energy from Green Hydrogen. As a firm that could potentially supply 25 percent of global demand for modules, LONGi will have a very high interest in the progress f green hydrogen manufacturing, especially where it is solar powered. Readers will recall that the focus on green hydrogen, which essentially means hydrogen produced using renewable energy, has been heralded as the next big opportunity for renewable energy. Especially with energy storage costs falling, large-scale energy storage powered by renewable energy is widely considered a possibility by 2025-26 at a price that will easily meet energy needs for powering large hydrogen electrolysers. At a price that will meet or beat grid prices anywhere.

Hydrogen itself is a very good storage option, with a production price of sub $2 widely considered a level at which it would open up many new opportunities across industries. At present, costs have ranged from $4 to $ 6, under different conditions.

Li Zhenguo, the founder and president at LONGi, has opted to be the chairman of the new business unit, indicating just how seriously LONGi sees the new opportunity. Named  Xi’an LONGi Hydrogen Technology Co, the unit is expected to gradually figure out and build a direction for the firm to invest aggressively if required.

Yunfei Bai, director of industrial research at LONGi, said in a statement that continued cost reductions of generating solar power had presented the opportunity to reduce electrolysis costs in turn. Combining the two technologies can “continuously expand” the scale of green hydrogen production and “accelerate the realisation of carbon reduction and decarbonisation goals of all the countries in the world”.

Bai noted that the current projected global hydrogen demand of around 60 million tons per year would require more than 1,500GW of solar PV to produce.

While the push for green hydrogen was always building up, with surprising support from the existing oil and gas sector (thanks to the interoperability of a lot of existing equipment for green hydrogen manufacturing too), the covid pandemic has accelerated the process. The European Union kicked off the shift with its green hydrogen strategy to build significant capabities and capacities. Even while the European plan stands out for its high reliance on wind power, as opposed to solar power in most other places. Existing energy exporters like Saudi Arabia and  Australia have also announced major plans, even as China has eyed this up as yet another opportunity to build on its massive headstart in renewable energy generation and capacity.

Large Indian conglomerates like the Reliance Group and the Adani group have also announced plans for the sector, indicating strong government backing for the country to establish a foothold too. The 2021 budget has already announced a National Hydrogen Mission accordingly. Clearly, this is one race where no one wants to be left behind.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International

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