Understanding the operating costs of hydrogen refueling stations

In the previous article ” Hydrogen Refueling Station – The Future of Green and Clean Energy “, we introduced what a hydrogen refueling station is and its classification. Many people are interested in this. So let’s find out today how much it operating costs to build a hydrogen refueling station.

hydrogen refueling stations

Fixed hydrogen refueling stations

Fixed hydrogen refueling stations as the name implies, are built in a certain area like traditional gas stations and cannot be moved. The skid-mounted type is a new model developed in recent years to balance convenience and economy. It has a small investment, is movable, and is easy to transfer. In terms of cost, under the same refueling standard of 500 kg, the construction cost of a fixed type is about 10 million CNY, while the skid-mounted type only costs 5 million CNY. Please refer to the figure below for the specific cost ratio:

Fixed station cost ratio

If an enterprise has many large vehicles, such as construction and transportation companies, then it is more appropriate to invest in the construction of a 500KG fixed hydrogen refueling station, which has a much higher refueling efficiency than a skid-mounted hydrogen refueling station. The following is a specific analysis of its operating costs using a 500kg 35Mpa fixed hydrogen refueling station as a model:

1. Land occupation cost

According to the average land acquisition cost in China, the land cost of a hydrogen refueling station is about 3-5 million CNY, the land depreciation period is 30 years, and the annual depreciation cost is 100,000-150,000 CNY;

2. Equipment purchase costs

According to the filling volume standard of 500KG, 3-5 filling equipment are needed, and the purchase and construction cost ranges from 10 million to 12 million CNY. The equipment depreciation period is 15 years, and the annual depreciation cost is 600,000 to 650,000 CNY;

3. Hydrogen trailer rental fee

According to the general trailer rental fee, it is about 600 CNY per day and about 15,000 to 20,000 CNY per month. If the amount of hydrogen refueling is large, the rental fee can be negotiated to be reduced ;

4. Labor costs

A hydrogen refueling station is equipped with at least five employees, including one station manager and four operators (including safety officers). The average salary is RMB 80,000 per person per year, and the labor cost of five employees is RMB 400,000 per year.

5. Other expenses

In addition to labor costs and hydrogen procurement costs, other costs to ensure station operation are about 500,000 to 1 million CNY per year, mainly including:

• Electricity costs: The power consumption of the compression system, refrigeration system, hydrogenation system, control system, and security system in the station is about 200kW in total.

• Metering costs: Metrological verification and calibration of safety valves, pressure gauges, and mass flow meters within the station.

• Repair and maintenance costs: replacement of hydraulic system oil, repair of seals, pipeline valves.

6. Hydrogen procurement cost

The cost of hydrogen production varies with different hydrogen production processes: coal-based hydrogen production costs: 6.7-17.9 CNY/kg; natural gas-based hydrogen production costs: 8.9-17.9 CNY/kg; industrial byproduct hydrogen costs: 8.9-16.8 CNY/kg; water electrolysis hydrogen production costs: 38-54.8 CNY/kg; biological hydrogen production costs: 28.6 CNY/kg. (Source: “Key Technologies and Prospects of Hydrogen Production Analysis”, China Galaxy Securities Research Institute)

Taking into account the transportation cost and profit of hydrogen, the ex-factory price of hydrogen is about 25-35 CNY/kg, which is related to the local hydrogen supply capacity. Assuming that the hydrogen refueling station operates 300 days a year, the capacity utilization rate is 100%, the annual hydrogen refueling volume is 150 tons, the gross profit margin is about 15%, and the hydrogen refueling muzzle price is about 45 CNY/kg.

According to the calculation of a 49-ton heavy truck fully loaded, when the price of hydrogen refueling is 28 CNY/kg, the cost of use is the same as that of fuel vehicles. The average subsidy policy of various localities is 10-20 CNY/kg. After the subsidy, the cost of using hydrogen fuel cell heavy trucks is still higher than fuel vehicles.

hydrogen fuel

With the iteration of production, storage, transportation, and hydrogen refueling equipment technology and the development of integrated operation models, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will replace fuel vehicles and are expected to play an important role in the future and contribute to the realization of zero-carbon energy goals.

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