Korea takes steps toward hydrogen economy

By Shin Ji-hye

Hydrogen to be included in nation’s third energy plan this year

  • Published : Sept 12, 2018 - 15:21
  • Updated : Sept 12, 2018 - 15:21

South Korea has launched a joint private- and public-sector committee to create a roadmap for the hydrogen economy as part of the nation’s move to shift to clean energy, according to officials on Wednesday.

The hydrogen economy recently gained momentum in Korea as the government set the energy source as one of the three key investment areas alongside data and block chain last month. The government set aside 110 billion won ($97 million) for next year, a rise from 42.2 billion won this year, with the aim of boosting the hydrogen industry and developing energy technologies for cars, buses, railways and vessels as well as power generation.

The joint committee launched on Wednesday will be chaired by vice minister of the energy ministry, comprising of ministries from transportation, environment, fisheries, finance and science. Participating companies include Hyundai Motor, Posco Energy, Doosan Fuel Cell and Hyosung.

During the committee meeting, the participating members shared the view that the hydrogen is a driving force to lead the clean energy shift, according to the Energy Ministry. In November, Korea set a goal of the energy shift to increase the portion of green energy to 20 percent in 2030 to replace nuclear and coal. 

A hydrogen charging station in Mapo-gu, Seoul (Yonhap)

The Energy Ministry said it would include the role and application of hydrogen energy in the nation’s third energy plan slated to be mapped out by the end of this year. The plan is expected to include measures to give the hydrogen economy a legal foundation, institutions and a strong enough eco-system for hydrogen-powered cars to gain momentum.

The energy plan mapped out every five years is the nation’s top administration plan in the energy area. The third plan will be a base for the nation’s energy policies from 2019 to 2040.

The government also said it was reviewing legislation related to the hydrogen economy in order to systemically foster the industry, efficiently run the hydrogen market and safely manage hydrogen energy.

Currently, four bills related to the hydrogen economy were proposed by both the ruling Democratic Party and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party. The bills are widely expected to be passed this year.

“The hydrogen economy is a promising business area for promoting innovative growth and replacing fossil fuel as an eco-friendly energy source,” said Lee In-ho, vice minister of the Energy Ministry.

In line with the move, a special purpose company called Hydrogen Network will also be set up in Korea this year. When the organization is established in the form of a company limited by shares, it will operate around 100 hydrogen charging stations by 2020 with the investment of around 200 billion won.

Currently, 15 companies, including Hyundai Motor, Hyosung Heavy Industries, SK Gas and Linde Korea, are reviewing to participate in the company.

By Shin Ji-hye (