South Korea’s real-time safety monitoring system for hydrogen fuel charging stations has been activated in order to effectively manage and avoid hydrogen fuel infrastructure incidents.

When an anomaly is discovered, the system notifies the control tower.

South Korea’s drive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 has resulted in an increase in the number of electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles on the road. By 2020, around 830,000 clean energy vehicles would have been registered, coupled with over 20,000 EV chargers built in public facilities, apartments, and office buildings, or approximately one charger for every six EVs.

Despite an aggressive government drive to urge local governments and organizations to embrace hydrogen fuel stations, the growth pace of charging infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles remains modest, with approximately 70 charging stations nationally. Numerous South Koreans regard hydrogen charging stations as a possible safety hazard.

The environment ministry signed a cooperation agreement with major liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) charging station owners in March 2021 to convert up to 2,000 stations into dual-purpose LPG and hydrogen charging facilities.

On August 31, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy announced the debut of a safety monitoring system for hydrogen fuel charging stations in collaboration with Korea Gas Safety Corporation (KOGAS), a state-run gas safety management organization. The technology was built as part of a 1.7 billion won ($1.4 million) initiative that began in 2020 and would connect all KOGAS-operated hydrogen fuel charging stations.

For real-time monitoring, the safety management system is connected to sensors and equipment such as compressors. When an abnormality is found, alerts are sent to the control tower, which dispatches troubleshooters. It is capable of performing inspections and real-time diagnostics at many stations concurrently.

Nedim Husomanovic

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