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Korea’s proposal for Micro Fuel Cell Power System Registered as International Standard
Applicable to Light-duty Vehicles, Unmanned Mobile Robots
Korea’s proposal for Micro Fuel Cell Power System Registered as International Standard
  • By Kim Eun-jin
  • May 27, 2019, 14:59
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Professor Lee Hong-ki of Woosuk University

The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) announced on May 26 that the micro fuel cell power system it has proposed to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has been registered as an IEC international standard (IEC 62282-6-400).

This is the first big achievement since the government launched a campaign this year to develop hydrogen economy into an innovative growth area. It presented a road map for hydrogen economy activation in January and a road map for hydrogen economy standardization in April.

The international standard for micro fuel cell power systems stipulates the power requirements for application of hydrogen fuel cell technology to small electronic devices such as laptops and cell phones. A micro fuel cell used in a laptop provides output power less than 60 V DC, and the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) method using methanol as an electrolyte is most widely used. A source from KATS said, "This standard also defines the standards for supply of such power in a safe and compatible manner.”

The hydrogen economy, which is built around hydrogen cars and fuel cells for homes and buildings, requires the miniaturization of fuel cells in order to expand its use to other areas, including electronic devices.

This standard can be applied to electronic devices and light-duty vehicles such as electric bicycles, electric carts, and forklifts, and to unmanned mobile robots.

The standard has been approved three years after Professor Lee Hong-ki of Woosuk University proposed it to IEC in April 2016. Lee said, "Micro fuel cells can carry out new functions such as high energy density compared to conventional rechargeable batteries. The market for micro fuel cells will expand rapidly through their use in small-sized devices, if the safety of the devices is secured and the price conditions are right.

A conventional secondary battery in a laptop lasts four to eight hours, while a micro fuel cell lasts 12 to 15 hours in the same environment. Micro fuel cells are in the initial stage of standardization, and there are only five international standards registered so far.

Korea, along with the United States and Japan that have led the standardization of safety and performance, has entered the competition for international standards. The government plans to preempt over 20 percent of all international standard proposals by proposing more than 15 kinds of hydrogen economy international standards by 2030. "The registration of Korea’s first international standard for the hydrogen economy is the first step toward becoming a leader in the hydrogen economy. We will support the advancement of Korea in the global market by actively proposing our technologies as international standards,” said Lee Seung-woo, head of KATS.