An Innovative Approach for Energy Transition in China? Chinese National Hydrogen Policies from 2001 to 2020

Yiqi Yuan, May Tan-Mullins

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


To accelerate clean energy transition, China has explored the potential of hydrogen as an energy carrier since 2001. Until 2020, 49 national hydrogen policies were enacted. This paper explores the relevance of these policies to the development of the hydrogen industry and energy transition in China. We examine the reasons, impacts, and challenges of Chinese national hydrogen policies through the conceptual framework of Thomas Dye’s policy analysis method and the European Training Foundation’s policy analysis guide. This research provides an ex-post analysis for previous policies and an ex-ante analysis for future options. We argue that the energy supply revolution and energy technology revolution highlight the importance of hydrogen development in China. Particularly, the pressure of the automobile industry transition leads to experimentation concerning the application of hydrogen in the transportation sector. This paper also reveals that hydrogen policy development coincides with an increase in resource input and has positive spill over effects. Furthermore, we note that two challenges have impeded progress: a lack of regulations for the industry threshold and holistic planning. To address these challenges, the Chinese government can design a national hydrogen roadmap and work closely with other countries through the Belt and Road Initiative.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1265
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese national hydrogen policies
  • energy transition
  • hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
  • hydrogen industry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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