Korea: Weaknesses of hydrogen charging stations exposed

Due to a broad strike by the Cargo Solidarity, hydrogen vehicle drivers are stranded. This is due to a lack of hydrogen supply causing hydrogen refilling stations to close.

According to ‘Haing,’ a hydrogen distribution information system administered by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy on the 13th, 32 of 110 hydrogen charging stations around the nation had ceased operations as of 11 a.m. on the same day. On the tenth, 11 spots were added to the previous day’s total of 21.

Because of the cargo coalition’s strike that began on the 7th, hydrogen delivery from industrial complexes such as Yeosu, Ulsan, and Daesan has been interrupted. The longer the strike lasts, the more hydrogen filling stations will be shut down.

Currently, hydrogen is delivered to most hydrogen charging stations in Korea by hydrogen tube trucks from industrial complexes. The present hydrogen tube trailer has a carrying capacity of only 340 kg. The hydrogen storage capacity of the NEXO is 6.33 kg, which is adequate to charge 50 to 60 units. The driving range on a single charge is 609 kilometers, which is longer than that of an electric car, but if the strike continues, it will be unable to operate.

Even before the Cargo Solidarity strike, it was problematic for NEXO drivers to visit and inspect waiting trucks since there are few hydrogen filling facilities, and some are operated on a reservation basis. Furthermore, because of the cargo coalition’s strike, hydrogen refueling has become more complicated. Complaints like “I won’t be able to drive for a while” and “I’d want a buffer” are common in the hydrogen vehicle internet forum.

From January through May of this year, Nexo sales grew by 8.5 percent to 3,978 units, compared to the same time last year. During the same time period, 13,596 electric vehicles were sold, a difference of approximately 10,000 units. Only 30 of the 118 local governments implementing the hydrogen car subsidy program this year have completed their work. It’s not like electric vehicles, which have become so popular that some local governments have run out of incentives in a single day.

The charging infrastructure is blamed for the delayed adoption of hydrogen automobiles. Because most hydrogen filling stations rely on tube trailers, they will be unable to operate if the hydrogen supply is depleted or delivery is disrupted.

The government gave a special license for large-capacity tube trailers to hydrogen tank firm NK (NK) through the regulatory sandbox in 2020, allowing for weights of up to 634 kg, although supply is delayed and the transportation danger remains the same as in current cargo strike.

The hydrogen charging stations that use hydrogen extractors should be increased, according to the industry. The tube trailer does not need to provide hydrogen often since it is created directly by putting a hydrogen extractor in the charging station. There are also charging stations where the hydrogen produced at the hydrogen production plant is directly delivered through smart pipes, although there are only three countrywide (Ulsan Together, Hinet SPG Yeosu, and Ansan e-Roum).

“It’s not that the US and Europe can’t build hydrogen vehicles; it’s that their business models are still insufficient,” said Kim Pil-soo, a professor of future autos at Daelim University, he emphasized.

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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