Can China’s electrolysers emulate the success of scaling up the manufacture of solar PVs

Given the current geoeconomic concerns surrounding China’s electrolysers potentially dominating the global market, akin to its solar PVs, Dr. Gong will investigate whether China’s electrolysers can emulate the success of scaling up the manufacture of solar PVs, reducing costs of solar PVs and dominating the global market for solar PVs for her OIES-Aramco Fellowship. The development of the solar PV and hydrogen industries are comparable because both of them are viewed as areas with great potential for industrial development, but they have been developed with a different outlook, namely domestic hydrogen value chains versus export of solar PV products. Since China’s hydrogen sector is still in its nascent stages compared to the more mature solar industry, the comparative analysis focuses on their respective early developmental phases. The identification of comparable elements is based on an examination of the evolution of China’s solar and hydrogen industries. Key factors influencing the development trajectories of solar and hydrogen in China, such as technological attributes, internationalization strategies, government backing, and companies’ export modalities, serve as comparable elements. This paper delves into how, during the initial stages of solar PV and renewable hydrogen development, these factors have shaped China’s participation in global supply chains for solar PVs and electrolysers.

By: Xiaohan Gong