The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has shared an article produced by The Diplomat, an international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region, detailing further plans to develop a hydrogen (H2)-based economy in South Korea by deregulating H2 laws.

On the 17th January 2019, ambitious plans to have 80,000 H2-powered fuel cell vehicles on South Korea’s roads by 2022 were unveiled by President Moon Jae-in at a government-led event in the southeastern city of Ulsan 

South Korea unveils hydrogen economy plan

In South Korea, there are currently only 15 refuelling stations for FCEVs, though the government is looking to add 71 this year. In contrast, there are nearly 25,000 charging stations for electric vehicles across the US and Canada.

To grow the number of refuelling stations in South Korea, the government plans to loosen regulations by creating a regulatory sandbox that will allow domestic producers to experiment with new technologies without the concern of being burdened by regulations.

Under the current law, building H2-charging stations in such areas is not allowed due to many regulations related to residential areas, commercial areas and cultural assets. With the regulatory sandbox, the related infrastructure can be installed without revising laws.

Domestically, the plan has backing from Hyundai and the city of Ulsan. Prior to Moon’s remarks, Hyundai had already set a goal of producing 500,000 FCEVs annually by 2030, and Ulsan had set the goal of becoming a leading centre for the H2 economy. By 2030 it plans to have 40% of city buses run on H2 fuel cells (the first started this year), add 60 H2 refilling stations, and have 15% of personal vehicles run on H2.