The budget cut for hydrogen-powered vehicles is the result of a thorough analysis of the new circumstances, not of a political conclusion based on regime change. The government is still making considerable efforts to increase the number of hydrogen-powered vehicles available.
More than 100 people attended the “Seminar on Activating the Spread of Hydrogen Mobility” held by the Ministry of Environment and the Korea Natural Gas and Hydrogen Vehicle Association on the 15th, including Park Yeon-jae, the Ministry of Environment’s Atmospheric Environment Policy Officer, Kim Yong-shin, the association’s chairman, and Kim Yu-ran, the division’s secretary for atmospheric future strategy.
According to the government’s mid-to-long-term roadmap for the supply of hydrogen vehicles, the goal was to install 29,000 hydrogen vehicles and 209 charging stations by the end of November, falling short of the original target of 67,000 hydrogen vehicles and 310 charging stations.
But he added that for three years running, Korea has had the highest water probability penetration in the world. However, the initial supply target was not met due to the difficulty in increasing supply. There are many things that can be done better in the future, including the limitation of demand expansion due to the delay in the introduction of new cars, the restriction on securing the budget due to the prolonged corona, and changes in the compensation case.
He explained that the budget will be run to support the supply policy focused on commercial vehicles and to support the steady expansion of the supply of passenger cars. He was speaking about the direction of the government’s budget formulation for hydrogen vehicles and hydrogen refueling stations for the next fiscal year.
The company intends to significantly increase support beginning with the introduction of hydrogen commercial vehicles, raise the subsidy unit price for hydrogen buses to reduce the financial burden on local governments, install hydrogen commercial charging stations across the country, including in Sejong and Jeju, and increase the number of liquid hydrogen refueling stations. Additionally, it will continue to support the expansion of new passenger charging stations while maintaining the subsidy volume and unit pricing for hydrogen passenger vehicles.
“We will promote a strategic deployment plan for hydrogen refueling stations to build at least one hydrogen refueling station in all cities and townships by 2025 to improve charging conditions and overcome regional deviations,” Kim said. “This year, as a result of operating three additional hydrogen refueling stations in Seoul (5 units) and six hydrogen refueling stations near Seoul, the load on charging stations and waiting times have been significantly reduced.”
He made the point that the lack of diversity still places restrictions on the increase of demand, necessitating ongoing technological advancement, public demand discovery, and private demand generation for the introduction of new models. Only one NEXO automobile model was released in 2018 for use as passenger vehicles, and a hydrogen bus (low-floor), which has been mass-produced since 2020, is currently in use. High-floor (wide-area) buses and hydrogen heavy-duty vehicles with a towing capacity of 11 tons are now being developed and will soon go on sale.
In light of the benefits of hydrogen-powered cars, the company wants to speed up the conversion of large commercial vehicles starting in 2019 as well as increase its involvement in public transportation with the addition of long-distance buses and cleaning trucks.
It declared that it is getting ready to sign contracts with Icheon, Cheongju SK Hynix, and Seoul Airport Limousine to expand and distribute hydrogen city buses across the country by running charging stations in places like Sejong and Jeju where there aren’t any for commercial vehicles and to convert metropolitan buses and commuter buses to hydrogen vehicles first.
Additionally, he stated that Yongin Eumseong (Pulmuwon), Yongin Lotte Logistics, and Seosan Lotte Chemical are talking about converting hydrogen vehicles for cleaning vehicles operating in the metropolitan area. These discussions are being held in order to convert logistics, courier, distributor freight vehicles, and municipal directly managed cleaning vehicles operating on designated routes and sections to hydrogen trucks. Additionally, the business intends to create a variety of customized cargo vehicles in the future to support demonstration projects like the Pyeongtaek car carrier and tank lorry (Ulsan).
In the Boolean region, it intends to provide 624 hydrogen city buses by 2025 and, in tandem with the Pyeongtaek liquid hydrogen project, mass-supply 50 vehicle carriers, 150 cleaning trucks, 200 trucks, 200 wide-area buses, and 250 city buses by 2030. In the instance of Incheon, he announced intentions to convert 700 hydrogen buses to hydrogen buses by 2024 and all about 2,000 municipal buses to hydrogen buses by 2030 in conjunction with the liquid hydrogen project.
The Seongnam Water Purification Plant is also developing a green hydrogen electric cycle (production, distribution, and utilization) model that will generate green hydrogen (188kg/day) capable of charging 38 hydrogen vehicles in the first half of next year by electrolyzing small hydrogen (0.7MW) + water (ultrapure water), supply it to nearby charging stations through pipelines, and create a public bus parking lot for zero-emission vehicles close to the charging infrastructure. The company intends to develop projects in Gyeongnam’s Miryang (small hydropower, 1.3MW), and Chungju (hydropower, 6MW), he said.
The head of Hydrogen Energy Network Co., Ltd., Jin Jong-suk, gave a presentation titled “Hydrogen Refueling Station Operation Case and Profitability Securing Method” at the seminar. He argued that the time has come to ensure the profitability of charging stations and that it is necessary to create a price that satisfies equity by linking hydrogen raw material prices.
According to Jin, “since 2019, the hydrogen service pricing has maintained at 8,800 won per kg, resulting in a deficit for providers and highly affordable services for consumers.” In other words, while hydrogen passenger cars receive economic services at 45,000 won, the provider is in deficit, while diesel passenger cars must pay more than 100,000 won to fill up when traveling between Seoul and Busan.
If the price of hydrogen is supplied to 13,000–15,000 won per kg or more, including appropriate operating costs, it is possible to achieve BEP (breakeven), and hydrogen car users can enjoy economic benefits with lower fuel costs than fuel vehicles. Building hydrogen refueling stations costs 3 billion won for 25kg and 5 billion won for 50kg.
At the seminar, Kang Tae-woong, Chief Manager of Hyundai Motor Co., Ltd., presented “Current Status of Hydrogen Commercial Vehicle Development in Korea,” Kim Yoon-jung, Chief Officer of the Social Economy Department of Asan City, presented “2022 Hydrogen Truck Commercialization and Distribution Policy Case,” Kim Hyun-kwang of SK Corporation PL presented “Liquid Hydrogen Plant and Liquid Hydrogen Refueling Station Project,” and Kim Hyun-kwang of SK
Additionally, Song Moon-beom, Manager of Hyundai Glovis Co., Ltd., presented “Status and Improvement Plan of Hydrogen Cargo Vehicle Operation,” and Yu Deok-geun, Team Manager of Hyundai Doosan Infracore, presented “Development Status and Plan of Hydrogen Engine for Construction Machinery and Commercial Vehicles.”