The Kolon Group’s fuel cell business, which is fostered as its next-generation growth engine, is full of steam and heading down the rails.
According to industry sources on Nov. 4, Kolon Hydrogenics installed the 1 MW fuel cell power generation system at Hanwha Total’s oil refinery site in Daesan, and started commercial operations on Nov. 3. Kolon Hydrogenics is a joint venture established in June last year by Kolon Water & Energy and Canada’s Hydrogenics Corporation to develop, manufacture and sell fuel cells.
This is the nation’s first power production system using byproduct hydrogen for fuel. The cooperation with Hydrogenics, which holds unrivaled technological prowess in the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells stack sector, has had a decisive effect on it. A PEM fuel cell is a 4th generation fuel cell technology, which is recently favored with high efficiency and high power density.
As Kolon Hydrogenics has successfully started commercial production using a PEM fuel cell technology, the company has gained a foothold to make inroads into the fuel cell market at home and abroad in the future.
According to Fuel Cell Today, the U.S.-based fuel cell intelligence analysis website, global fuel cell shipments in 2013 stood at 67,000 units, up 46 percent from the previous year. By region, North America and Asia showed remarkable growth in sales.
The domestic fuel cell market also has a high potential for growth. This is because it is difficult to find energy sources that are appropriate for Korea’s conditions, such as high population density and limited land space. Since fuel cells are a power generation facility that doesn’t require transmission towers, it is possible to install it in large cities and make less noise. Accordingly, it has become a realistic alternative.
The Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET) said that the installed domestic fuel cell capacity in 2013 reached 109 MW, which is a big growth from 3 MW in 2012. It is largely due to the rapid increase in installations, as a 60 MW fuel cell power plant, which is the largest in the world, was situated within the Balan Industrial Complex in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.