Korea: Ulsan Unveils World’s First Hydrogen Fuel Cell-Powered Apartment Complex

By July 10, 2024 2   min read  (403 words)

July 10, 2024 |

2024 07 10 11 48 39
  • Ulsan, South Korea, has introduced the world’s first “hydrogen apartment” complex, utilizing electricity and heat from hydrogen fuel cells, producing substantial energy cost savings.
  • The Yuldong With You Apartment complex, powered by nearby Yuldong Combined Heat and Power Plant, exemplifies a successful model of carbon-neutral living, potentially reducing residents’ energy costs by 30-40% compared to city gas.

In a pioneering move towards sustainable urban living, Ulsan City in South Korea has announced the completion of the world’s first “hydrogen apartment” complex, the Yuldong With You Apartments in Buk-gu. This innovative project has quickly garnered attention for its unique energy solution that not only powers 437 apartment units but also supports their heating needs through hydrogen fuel cells.

The Yuldong Combined Heat and Power Plant, located a mere 200 meters from the apartment complex, is central to this initiative. Utilizing by-product hydrogen sourced via a 10km pipeline from nearby industrial activities in the oil refining, petrochemical, and steel industries, the plant efficiently produces electricity and heat with minimal environmental impact. This method of hydrogen production is noted for being the most cost-effective among the various alternatives.

Installed on the complex’s rooftop, three container-sized fuel cells generate up to 1.32 megawatts (MW) of electricity from 51 kg of hydrogen per hour—sufficient to supply a month’s worth of electricity to four average four-person households every hour. Additionally, the process generates heat, which is captured and stored in a thermal accumulator with a 40-ton capacity. This heated water, reaching temperatures up to 70℃, is then piped directly into homes for heating, ensuring efficient use of all energy produced.

Since its official operation began on June 1, following a testing period in late May, the power plant has produced approximately 840 MW of electricity, valued around 150 million won. This significant output highlights the potential for hydrogen to play a crucial role in urban energy strategies.

An official from Ulsan City noted that while the hydrogen-generated electricity is currently sold to the Korea Electric Power Corporation due to regulatory constraints, there are plans to amend the Electricity Business Act. This change would allow residents direct access to the electricity produced, further enhancing the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of living in the Yuldong With You Apartments. This transition aims to fully realize the vision of a 100% carbon-neutral residential complex, setting a new standard for eco-friendly living in urban environments.

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