Interview: South Korea hydrogen economy

Although South Korea faced one of the world’s largest initial outbreaks of Covid-19 outside of China, it managed to flatten the epidemic curve quickly, and without imposing a nationwide lockdown. It responded so quickly in fact that the country has seen little disruption, even managing to put into operation three new hydrogen stations in the first quarter of 2020, with 37 more planned for this year.

Whilst China and Japan are at the forefront of hydrogen infrastructure buildouts in the Asia-Pacific region, and many of the headlines, South Korea has its own ambitious plans. The South Korean Government sees hydrogen as a new engine for economic growth and central to the country’s shift to a low-carbon economy in the long-term. President Moon Jae-in announced his government’s determination to build a hydrogen economy in 2019, built on a roadmap which would see the country produce 6.2 million units of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and build 1,200 refuelling stations by 2040.

In the more immediate term, South Korea plans to have 80,000 hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles on roads by 2022 and around 300 stations from which to fuel them.

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