Korea: Seven ministries involved in game-changer initiative for hydrogen

Korea – In order to lower carbon emissions and the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo recently unveiled the most recent comprehensive strategy for the country.

The declaration was made in response to criticism that the country’s usage of fuel cells, which are thought to be one of the cleanest energy sources, has only been used in cars and power plants. According to those observers, the nation has also been relying excessively on fossil fuel-based grey hydrogen, which is less clean than green and blue hydrogen and cannot effectively reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Grey hydrogen is produced from liquid natural gas or extracted during petrochemical or steelmaking processes.

Han, the leaders of seven ministries, including those in charge of the environment, business, science, land, and finances, as well as experts from outside the government, attended the committee, which was held for the first time since Yoon Suk-administration yeol’s took office in May of this year. The latest plan, according to the prime minister, rests on three directions: “scale-up, build-up, and level-up,” during the committee meeting at the Lotte Hotel Seoul.

In other words, the strategy intends to implement dual fuel-based power generation utilizing hydrogen and ammonia, grow hydrogen consumption, and create a global supply network (hydrogen 50 percent, ammonia 20 percent, with the development of required technologies completed by 2027 and put into practice the following year).

The committee projected that by 2030, there will be 30,000 hydrogen vehicles nationwide, up from a little over 19,000 in 2021. By 2036, the production of hydrogen electricity will contribute over 7% of the nation’s output, up from the 767 MW it generated in 2021.

The plan also calls for the construction of “the world’s biggest” liquefied hydrogen plant, which will be capable of producing 40,000 tons of clean hydrogen annually, the expansion of hydrogen refueling stations across the country, and the laying of an underground pipeline to transport hydrogen throughout the central-western provinces of Gyeonggi and Chungcheong.

The nation’s primary manufacturer of hydrogen vehicles will be Hyundai Motor Company, while SK, Hyosung, and HyChangwon will construct the country’s liquefied hydrogen factory and recharging stations. There were 141 charging stations that exclusively provided fuel in the form of gas as of 2021. The government wants to build 70 more stations by 2030 that can dispense liquid hydrogen fuel, which can be transported or stored in much less space than gas.

The current LNG distribution pipelines will be used in conjunction with the new hydrogen distribution network. Han announced on Wednesday that he will set up a distribution system for pure ammonia in the nation’s West Sea. Approximately 200,000 tons of blue ammonia and 600,000 tons of green ammonia were anticipated to be imported annually from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, respectively, according to the authorities. The pipeline will then deliver the imported ammonia to domestic businesses like Samsung, SK, POSCO, Lotte, and Korea National Oil Corporation so they can use it to produce hydrogen-based goods.

The country’s core hydrogen industries, including those that use water electrolysis to extract pure hydrogen, liquefied hydrogen carrier ships, trailers, hydrogen recharging stations, fuel cell mobility, and power generation, and hydrogen turbines, were also designated in Wednesday’s blueprint to increase their contributions to the national economy and further grow to a global top level.

According to the committee, construction on an ammonia carrier ship will be finished by 2026 and a liquefied hydrogen carrier ship by 2029. Only 30 domestic enterprises were focusing solely on hydrogen as of 2021. The number is projected to increase to 600 by 2030. As part of the blueprint, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy also declared that they would raise the nation’s level of hydrogen technologies and, as a result, boost the number of hydrogen-related products dominating worldwide markets from 2 in 2021 to 10 in 2030.

An official from the commerce ministry’s Hydrogen Economy Policy Division stated that the new plan will result in a net worth of 47 trillion won ($34.5 billion), 98,000 new employment, and a 28 million ton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.