|Hyundai Motor's hydrogen filling station in Anseong Rest Area, Gyeonggi Province / Korea Times file|
310 hydrogen charging stations to be set up by 2022
By Kwak Yeon-soo
The government will build 310 hydrogen charging stations across the country by 2022, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Tuesday.
This will comprise of 250 in major cities and 60 on expressways, while the total will grow to 1,200 by 2040 according to the ministry. Once this last target is achieved, drivers will be within 15 minutes of a charging station anywhere.
The ministry's plan is based on the assumption that there will be 67,000 hydrogen cars in use by 2022. This will create an annual demand for hydrogen of 30,000 tons.
"We plan to build hydrogen stations taking into account various factors, including the total number of registered hydrogen cars, population and traffic volume per region," an ministry official said. "By the end of this year we will already have 86 stations."
The plan is in line with President Moon Jae-in's hydrogen policy vision to promote clean energy vehicles.
Moon has stressed that a hydrogen economy is a revolutionary transition in industrial structure, in which the gas replaces coal and oil.
Apart from increasing number of hydrogen stations, the government will also fund research to provide drivers with faster charging times.
The ministry said it will add hydrogen tanks to existing gas, LPG and CNG stations, to simplify construction and reduce costs.
"Regarding the public's awareness over the safety of hydrogen, we will bolster related rules and regulations to meet stricter standards," the official said. "We will also create a new organization to manage the safety of hydrogen."
Earlier in January, the government unveiled its vision for a hydrogen-powered economy, saying hydrogen-powered and fuel cell cars would create 43 trillion won ($38.2 billion) in economic value and 420,000 jobs by 2040.
It promised to foster an increase in the number of hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road to 6.2 million in 2040.