Hydrogen is expected to become Korea’s largest energy source in 2050

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The Korean government has unveiled the first basic plan for the transition to the hydrogen economy.


The South Korean government has decided to make hydrogen the largest source of energy in South Korea by 2050. To this end, it will expand the production of electricity from hydrogen while increasing the supply of clean hydrogen, replace 100% of the fuels in the steel and chemical industries with hydrogen, increase the production capacity of hydrogen vehicles and install more than 2,000 hydrogen chargers throughout the country.

The government’s new plan consists of 15 projects for cleaner hydrogen production, expansion of infrastructure, greater use of hydrogen in daily life and enrichment of the industrial ecosystem.

Concretely, it plans to supply 27.9 million tonnes of hydrogen in 2050 and it will be green hydrogen and blue hydrogen. According to the mode of production, hydrogen is divided into green hydrogen based on renewable energy, blue hydrogen based on natural gas extraction and carbon collection, and gray hydrogen based on natural gas extraction. Green hydrogen and blue hydrogen are classified as clean hydrogen.

A number of green hydrogen production facilities will be built to reduce production costs. According to the plan, 250,000 tons will be produced and the cost per kilogram will be lowered to 3,500 won in 2030 and the amount and cost will be respectively increased to three million tons and lowered to 2,500 won in 2050. At the same time, carbon stores of at least 900 million tonnes will be built by 2030 and the annual production volume of blue hydrogen will be increased to 750,000 tonnes and two million tonnes by 2030 and 2050, respectively.

The government will work more closely with hydrogen producing countries to ensure that the import of hydrogen is stable. It will launch renewable energy and hydrogen production projects abroad and increase the number of its hydrogen supply chains to at least 40 by 2050.

Hydrogen ports will be built near coal and LNG power plants and industrial complexes and incentives will be provided so that more hydrogen-powered ships, vehicles and equipment can be operational. Hydrogen pipelines will be built at the main hydrogen production and import sites and the government also plans to use the existing natural gas pipelines for the transport of hydrogen.

Regarding the production of electricity from hydrogen, mixed combustion will be extended and new gas turbines will be marketed so that the quantity of this type of electricity production can increase from 3.5 TWh to 287, 9 TWh from 2020 to 2050.

The annual production capacity of hydrogen vehicles will be increased to 5.26 million units by 2050 and the hydrogen will be applied to various means of transport, including ships, drones and trams. The cost of fuel and purchase subsidies for commercial hydrogen vehicles will be improved at the same time.

According to the plan, the Ministry of the Environment will build at least one hydrogen charging station in each of the 226 cities, counties and districts by 2025 and allow access to hydrogen charging stations within 15 minutes throughout the country in 2040.

The Department of Oceans and Fisheries will build 14 hydrogen ports by 2040 so that sea green hydrogen can represent 10% of the national green hydrogen supply. The Ministry of SMEs and Startups will manage unregulated areas for the development and demonstration of hydrogen technology.

“According to the plan, hydrogen will account for 33% and 23.8% of South Korea’s energy consumption and electricity production, respectively, in 2050,” the government said, adding: “Next, l ‘Hydrogen will become its biggest source of energy by beating oil and the economic effects of that include 567,000 new jobs and at least 200 million tonnes of greenhouse gas reductions. “


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