Ulsan, the Korean city with the highest CO2 emissions, bets on the future of underground hydrogen pipelines

Ulsan, the Korean city with the highest CO2 emissions, bets on the future of underground hydrogen pipelines

Hyundai Motor’s hydrogen fuel cells are being tested on Friday at the Energy Technology Support Agency’s feasibility center in Ulsan. (Kim Byung-wook / The Korea Herald)

ULSAN – A city the size of Hong Kong produces 5,400 cars every day, builds 12% of the world’s ships, and operates Asia’s third-largest petrochemical complex.

It’s no surprise that Ulsan has the highest per capita carbon emissions in South Korea.

The port city, located on the southeast coast of the Korean peninsula, aims to turn its weakness into a strength by collecting huge waste hydrogen generated in petrochemical facilities and using it as fuel to power the city. During a press tour on December 3, dozens of journalists were introduced to an outdoor installation at the Technopark in Ulsan. On the site’s gray cement floor – which looked like a trailer park – were five steel containers painted white.

On the visually uninteresting stage, reporters seemed almost disappointed, but at the mention of Hyundai Motor, they turned on.

“These are the hydrogen fuel cells from Hyundai Motor and Doosan Fuel Cell. We are testing whether Hyundai Motor’s fuel cells for cars can also be used for power generation, ”said Jo Seung-hwan, senior researcher at the Energy Technology Support Agency, a research organization that runs the center. feasibility.

“These fuel cells generate electricity with residual hydrogen from a 2.5 kilometer underground pipeline connected to a nearby petrochemical plant,” added Jo, explaining that based on the 7.6 billion won ($ 6.4 million), Ulsan will expand its underground hydrogen. pipeline network at full speed.

According to Woo Hang-soo, director of the Energy Technology Support Agency, Ulsan has completed the design of an underground hydrogen pipeline that connects the Hyundai Motor car plant and the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard.

Through a 10-kilometer pipeline, a petrochemical complex will be connected to Hyundai Motor’s No.5 plant in Ulsan, where the Nexo hydrogen SUV is manufactured. From there, a 4 kilometer pipeline will extend to the HHI shipyard in the east.

“When the Hyundai Motor Nexo leaves the factory, its fuel tank is empty. Hyundai Motor will fill it with the waste hydrogen supplied by the pipeline, ”said Woo.

Currently, a hydrogen trailer passes through Hyundai Motor’s Nexo plant every 30 minutes to 1 hour to supply hydrogen.

“In the meantime, HHI will be using the residual hydrogen as fuel for ships in the future.”

Ulsan will innovate and take ownership of the pipeline network next year.

By Kim Byung-wook ([email protected])

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