Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) has developed an onsite hydrogen production unit, a cost-effective module that can generate high-purity (more than 99.999 percent) hydrogen from existing urban gas supply pipeline.
The development will pave the way for realizing the government’s ambitious plan to increase the number of hydrogen vehicles in Korea to up to 80,000 over the next two years, said Dr. Yoon Wang-rae, the developer of the system.
To implement the hydrogen economy touted by the government, the most important thing is to produce hydrogen as cost-effectively as possible, he emphasized during a recent interview with Maeil Business Newspaper.The biggest obstacle to the introduction of hydrogen-powered vehicles is the lack of hydrogen charging stations, but the new module will facilitate installing hydrogen stations across cities and contribute to establishment of an infrastructure that can easily produce and charge hydrogen to vehicles, he said in confidence.
The institute’s Hydrogen Production Unit which has a packaged form like a container box makes it easy to draw and connect existing urban gas pipelines for massive production of hydrogen gas at an affordable cost. This means it can greatly reduce logistics costs of carrying hydrogen to the required location for supply.
The hydrogen production unit can be installed together with hydrogen filling stations, or urban gas pipelines can be connected to hydrogen filling stations to produce hydrogen at low costs on the spot to charge hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Compared to the existing Hydrogen Production Unit, the initial facility investment for the new system requires half of the cost of installing a popular hydrogen production unit from Osaka Gas.
The price of hydrogen is determined by three factors: initial facility investment cost, raw material cost, and operating cost, and it is important to lower the initial facility investment cost for low-cost hydrogen production, Dr. Yoon said.
The current production price of 1kg of hydrogen is 8,800 won, while that of KIER’s Hydrogen Production Unit is around 6,000 won, which is 30 percent cheaper.
Dr. Yoon said the new system’s hydrogen production efficiency is also high. Hydrogen production efficiency is an indicator of how much hydrogen energy is produced against the total urban gas energy input. KIER`s Hydrogen Production Unit has a hydrogen production efficiency of 81 percent.