Thirteen hydrogen industry leaders have jointly founded a new special purpose corporation (SPC) aimed at revamping South Korea’s hydrogen charging station construction and operation projects.

Hydrogen energy Network (HyNet) was officially launched earlier this week by the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), a branch of the South Korean Government, and aims to build and operate 100 hydrogen stations by 2022.

According to MOTIE most current hydrogen stations in South Korea have been built and operated by local governments. Private players were hesitant to be involved in station construction or operation.

However, with the full-fledged participation of the 13 firms – Korea Gas Corporation, Hyundai Motor, Air Liquide Korea, Woodside, EcoBio Holdings, Kolon Industries, Hyosung Heavy Industries, Nel Korea, Bumhan Industries, JNK Heaters, SPG Chemical, Deokyang and Valmax Technology corporation – things are about to change.

The consolidated efforts of these firms are expected to promote the establishment of private-led hydrogen station construction and operation model, facilitate institutional reforms and encourage the participation of more private entities.

Progress

The full-scale preparation for the foundation of HyNet began last year in keeping with the government’s initiative to promote hydrogen vehicles in South Korea.

MOTIE, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and the SPC participants signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the SPC establishment last April.

The MoU was followed by a research project to develop a model for the SPC foundation and a call for participants. Then, in February, the Fair Trade Commission completed the enterprise combination review of the corporation.

The general meeting of promoters was held on 28th February this year, and the incorporation registration was completed in early March. Finally, after nearly a year of preparation, HyNet celebrated its official establishment on 11th March.

Key role

HyNet plans to dedicate itself to realising the government initiatives aimed at promoting hydrogen vehicles including the Hydrogen Economy Promotion Road Map announced in Ulsan this January.

The South Korean Government aims to see a total of 67,000 hydrogen vehicles (including 2,000 hydrogen buses) on the road and up to 310 hydrogen charging stations across the country by 2022.

HyNet plans to take up more than 30% of the target number (310) of hydrogen stations by building and operating 100 hydrogen stations by 2022.

HyNet will also enhance the efficiency of hydrogen stations, improve regulations, and raise the quality of services during its 10-year operation until 2028.

The participating companies will work together to raise efficiency and lower the construction cost of hydrogen stations. They will also make efforts to identify and improve the regulations impeding the spread of hydrogen stations as well as to provide better hydrogen charging services for easier use.

Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Sung Yun-mo commented, “I hope that the SPC will serve as a bridge for public-private cooperation, which will contribute to overcoming the difficulties hindering the spread of hydrogen stations and to promoting the supply of hydrogen vehicles.”

HyNet CEO Yoo Jong-soo said, “The foundation of HyNet holds a great significance for Korea as the country prepares for its transition to the hydrogen economy.”

“We will actively involve ourselves in support projects for private hydrogen stations starting this year and thereby contribute to the growth of hydrogen stations in Korea.”