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EEF 2022 Visiting Session on Sakhalin: Development of Electric, Hydrogen and Natural Gas Transport in Far East

14 July 2022
Развитие электрического, водородного и газомоторного транспорта на Дальнем Востоке обсудили на Сахалине в рамках выездной сессии ВЭФ-2022

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk hosted a visiting session of the 7th Eastern Economic Forum ‘Current Challenges in the Development of Electric, Hydrogen and Natural Gas Transport in the Far East. Problems and Solutions’ as part of the Far Eastern Green Transport Forum. The event was organized by the Russian Ministry for the Development of the Far East and Arctic, the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation, the Roscongress Foundation and Sakhalin Regional Government.

The session was attended by nine experts in application and production of vehicles with reduced carbon footprint and implementation of climate neutral programmes. Among others, Oleg Popov, Acting Deputy Chairman of Sakhalin Oblast Government, and Mikhail Guzenko, Minister of Energy of Sakhalin Oblast, spoke at the event. The discussion was moderated by Dmitry Akishin, Director of Gas and Chemicals Consulting, VYGON Consulting.

«The Far East, including Sakhalin, has created conditions for investors that are ready to implement projects in many segments. Tax benefits and administrative preferences, as well as the comprehensive support of the Russian Ministry for the Development of the Far East and Arctic available to residents of ASEZs and the Free Port of Vladivostok, make it possible to increase the economic efficiency of projects to create infrastructure for the development of green transport on the island. Residents of ASEZs and FPV are already implementing such projects. Gas filling stations are being set up in Primorye Khabarovsk Territories, and a centre for electric vehicle repair is being built in Artem. In the Chukotka ASEZ, a project has been implemented to reconstruct a wind power plant. I’d like to point out that state support measures for investors are being finalized together with the business community. It is important for us to understand the challenges you face and what the government needs to do to ensure that new enterprises in key segments are created in the Far East. Today, more than 500 new production facilities have already been launched by private investors in the Far Eastern Federal District and Russia’s Arctic Zone as part of preferential regimes,» said Daria Kiryanova, Deputy Director General for Economic Development of the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation.

Mikhail Guzenko, Minister of Energy of Sakhalin Region, commented on the development of electric and natural gas transport in Sakhalin Oblast and support measures for the industry: «Many preferences and state support measures have been established for people and businesses to switch to natural gas and electric transport. These include transport tax benefits; compensation for the cost of new vehicles, engine retrofits and service centre equipment; land for gas filling stations without bidding; the country’s only reduced electricity tariffs for companies providing electric vehicle charging services; incentives for using gas and electric vehicles in passenger transportation and other measures».

The moderator of the session Dmitry Akishin stressed that compared to most Russian regions, the support measures are truly unprecedented. Sakhalin is indeed investing heavily in decarbonization, achieving carbon neutrality and improving the environmental situation on the islands.

Anton Moskvin, Vice President of Rusatom Overseas, spoke about the prospects in the development of hydrogen transport in Russia and in the world, the components of the success of such projects today. The expert also presented the Hydrogen Train pilot project on Sakhalin and touched upon the main challenges in its implementation.

«The main challenge in developing hydrogen transport around the world is to reduce emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere. The consensus estimate is that around 20% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions come fr om road transport. This needs to be reduced. Different countries have different approaches to tackling this issue. One of the main drivers of the issue is the development of electric transport. It is produced and operated in large volumes in many countries. But electric transport has certain disadvantages, the key one among them being its charging time and short mileage. Therefore, hydrogen transport is beginning to find its place in this sector. Hydrogen transport technology has its own significant advantages. An ordinary hydrogen car or bus can be charged in a few minutes, a train in half an hour. There are solutions that allow even large commercial vehicles to travel a thousand kilometres. Hydrogen vehicles do not emit any carbon dioxide; they produce only pure water during operation. Several tens of thousands of hydrogen-powered commercial and private vehicles already operate around the world. In the next 5–10 years, there will be thousands of hydrogen filling stations all over the world. First of all, hydrogen vehicles will be most actively introduced in the commercial sector. In Russia, in our opinion, commercial hydrogen cars as well as public transport will be the first ones to find use,» said Anton Moskvin.

According to him, work on the hydrogen train project on Sakhalin is now underway. This is Rosatom’s flagship project, which is being implemented jointly with Russian Railways, Transmashholding and Sakhalin Oblast Government.

«Significant progress has been made in understanding the key features of project implementation in terms of refuelling infrastructure, hydrogen production, the vehicle itself and the operating model. The main challenge is the lack of developed technologies in Russia. We are finding solutions, while trying to maximize the volume of Russian developments in the project. This year, we will also begin engineering surveys at sites wh ere hydrogen production and refuelling complexes will be located. Within the next few years, we plan to put the project into operation, but given the current situation, it is difficult to talk about a specific timeframe. Sakhalin residents will be the first to see a hydrogen train, followed by buses and commercial tractors. In this way we plan to make our hydrogen contribution to reducing the carbon footprint of the transport industry on the island,» said Vice President of Rusatom Overseas.

Samat Sattarov, Director of Passenger Transport at KAMAZ, shared the results of company’s work to develop green transport. The speaker also addressed the solution proposed for the development of urban electric passenger transport on Sakhalin.

«We have been engaged in the green transport agenda for quite a long time and actively. If we talk about passenger transport, our model range includes both natural gas vehicles and electric buses; last year we presented a waterbus. This year, we are going to present a new family of natural gas commuter buses, next year — a medium class bus. KAMAZ is the market leader in electric buses in Russia. Last year, 86% of all electric buses registered in the country were of our make. The family of electric buses is actively developing. Battery capacity has increased from 80 kW to 200 kW. We are developing the product in terms of consumer properties and performance. We are an active player in the gas segment. We have a large market share not only in the passenger sector, but also in the truck sector. We make natural gas trucks and gas-diesel vehicles. It is quite a wide model range. For Sakhalin, we offer a low-floor electric bus for 85 passengers with ultra-fast charging. The ability to recharge on the route gives extra mileage, increases vehicle utilization and returns on the capital invested,» shared Samat Sattarov.

The conclusions and suggestions of the experts who worked at the visiting session will be used to shape the business programme of the 7th Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held on 5–8 September 2022 in Vladivostok.