A project to develop hydrogen cells was launched today to build a «hydrogen city» in Jinan, in the province of Shandong, eastern China. The project, launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, aims to promote the research and development of fundamental technology related to hydrogen, promote the application of hydrogen cells in vehicles and encourage the development of the hydrogen-based automotive industry .
Shandong Heavy Industry Group (SHIG) signed agreements with Ballard Power Systems and Westport Fuel Systems of Canada, leading companies in the industry, to develop engines powered by hydrogen and natural gas, respectively. The local government will also cooperate with SHIG in order to manufacture hydrogen-powered buses in three or five years.
With an investment of 1.80 billion yuan (290 million dollars), Weichai Power, a manufacturing group of equipment and automobiles of SHIG, will work with other 12 companies and universities and institutes to improve the sustainability and adaptability of fuel cells said Tan Xuguang, chairman of the SHIG board and director of Weichai Power. In accordance with China’s guidelines on strategic emerging sectors in the 13th Five-Year Plan, the country will promote research and development of fuel cells, build more hydrogen stations and achieve mass production of fuel cell vehicles by 2020.