South Korea’s state-run power generation companies are entering the hydrogen industry one after another by launching projects for hydrogen fuel cell-based power generation in cooperation with their counterparts in the private sector. This type of power generation is characterized by using hydrogen as a fuel and, as such, leads to less greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions.
The South Korean government released a hydrogen economy roadmap in January this year. The idea is to produce 6.2 million hydrogen vehicles and supply fuel cells for power generation with a combined capacity of 15 GW until 2040.
Korea Midland Power (KOMIPO) announced on April 16 that it launches a demonstration project for a green hydrogen system-based power plant together with Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). To this end, they are going to work on green hydrogen production techniques for fuel cell-based power generation. They are planning to complete the demonstration of a 20 kW fuel cell system in or before 2021 and supply commercial 0.5 MW systems from 2022.
The green hydrogen production techniques are expected to realize high-purity hydrogen production, fuel cell-based power generation and carbon dioxide capturing in a single process. The green hydrogen extracted from a gas fuel is supplied for fuel cell-based power generation and transmission. The techniques are more efficient and simpler than existing hydrogen production techniques and facilitate expansion in scale based on pressurization and system modularization.
In addition, KOMIPO is planning to develop a hydrogen conversion-based power generation system with a capacity of 500 kW at its Sangmyung Wind Farm located in Jeju. Such systems for hydrogen production and storage are planned to be put to commercial use at its wind farms next year. In the long term, the corporation is aiming to reach a fuel cell facility capacity of 1 GW by 2040 while developing more techniques for use in the hydrogen industry.
Korea East-West Power Corp., in the meantime, concluded a business agreement for hydrogen fuel cell-based power generation with Hyundai Motor Co. and Deokyang on April 11. According to the agreement, the corporation and Hyundai Motor are going to set up hydrogen fuel cell-based 1 MW power generation facilities at the former’s Ulsan Power Complex and Deokyang will cooperate for hydrogen supply and piping construction. Byproduct hydrogen produced in Ulsan is slated to be used for the facilities, which are divided into two 500 kW container modules and are capable of producing 8,000 MWh of electricity a year.
At present, the corporation is building the world’s first 50 MW hydrogen fuel cell power plant in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province. The plant is scheduled to be completed in June 2020 and have an annual power generation capacity of 400,000 MWh.
Korea Western Power is focusing on high-purity hydrogen for fuel cells based on synthetic gas purification and hydrogen production from synthetic gases and marine microorganisms. The corporation succeeded in producing hydrogen with a purity of 99.99 percent in June 2018 and is planning to start fuel cell-linked pilot power generation in September this year. When it comes to hydrogen production from marine microorganisms, Korea Western Power and Kyong Dong Engineering started to build demonstration facilities with an annual production capacity of 300 tons last month and demonstration of the facilities is scheduled for October this year.