Hydrogen fuel plants to be built in Gwangju, Changwon

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Hydrogen fuel plants to be built in Gwangju, Changwon

A hydrogen fuel charging station in Mapo District, western Seoul. [YONHAP]

A hydrogen fuel charging station in Mapo District, western Seoul. [YONHAP]

Gwangju and Changwon, South Gyeongsang, will be the sites of large-scale hydrogen production facilities, part of the government's goal to remake its energy sector into a so-called "hydrogen economy."

Busan, Daejeon and Chuncheon, Gangwon, were selected for small-scale versions of the facility, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced Tuesday.
The ministry plans to eventually have the capacity to manufacture roughly 7,400 tons of hydrogen fuel annually, enough to fuel about 50,000 hydrogen vehicles including bus. 
In a statement, the ministry said its goal is to invest in the infrastructure necessary to create a traffic network based on hydrogen fuel. The government first unveiled its vision for a hydrogen-based economy in January 2019.
The government last year selected three regions to receive investments of 15 billion won ($12.2 million) each: Samcheok in Gangwon; Changwon in South Gyeongsang; and Pyeongtaek in Gyeonggi.  
The government said the large-scale facilities in Gwangju and Changwon will receive government funding to construct the facilities, which will each have a capacity of roughly four tons a day. Each region will receive 8 billion won, expected to cover 40 percent of the total expenses.
The three smaller plants, which will each have the capacity to produce one ton of hydrogen fuel a year, will each receive 5 billion won this year.  
The ministry plans to select two additional regions this year for smaller plants, and the total government investment will amount to 250 billion won. 
The government also plans to secure a total of 154 hydrogen fuel charging stations by the end of 2020 and hopes to expand that number to 310 by 2022 and to 1,200 by 2040.  
By the end of this year, the ministry expects to have more than 15,000 hydrogen vehicles driving on Korea's roads and highways. Hydrogen vehicles are projected to grow to 65,000 by 2022 and to 2.75 million by 2040.
By year's end, the ministry also predicts that 195 hydrogen buses will be in operation, projected to grow to 2,000 by 2022 and to 40,000 by 2040.  
BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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