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South Korea turns to hydrogen and ammonia to phase out fossil fuels

South Korea turns to hydrogen and ammonia to phase out fossil fuels
South Korea turns to hydrogen and ammonia to phase out fossil fuels

The South Korean government has reportedly announced this week that it will be developing hydrogen and ammonia as fuel source for thermal power generation to gradually cut down the use of fossil fuels.

As per the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, the government has initiated a public-private council to lead the research, with the goal of incorporating hydrogen and ammonia into the fuel mix by 2030.

By 2030, the ministry's plan anticipates more over 50% of South Korea's coal-fired thermal power reactors, or at least 24, employing a 20% ammonia fuel mix.

According to reports, liquefied natural gas and 30% hydrogen will be used in local gas-fired thermal power plants by 2035. In the years that follow, the government plans to expand the proportion of hydrogen beyond 30%.

To attain this ambitious goal, the ministry would rollout research projects to obtain essential technologies, which includes one for the design and development of novel turbines for ammonia and hydrogen fuel mix.

According to Kang Kyung-sung, director of the ministry's material component industry division, the introduction of ammonia and hydrogen at regional thermal power plants would effectively reduce trapped assets at those plants and offer them the flexibility they need to deal with the uncertainty and variability the renewable power transition will bring.

The government will also set up an ammonia supply chain, which would include everything from purchase to delivery to power plants. It intends to construct the first ammonia storage facilities in the coming year.

As noted by the ministry, the usage of hydrogen as well as ammonia at thermal power stations has been progressively tested in other nations.

In the United States, GE is now assisting a 485-megawatt power plant in Ohio to burn hydrogen. In the early stages, the plant is projected to burn roughly 15-20% hydrogen by volume in the gas stream, increasing its proportion to 100% in the future.

In Japan, Kawasaki Heavy Industries has created a pilot plant with a 1MW gas turbine that runs on both hydrogen and natural gas.

According to the ministry's recent revelation, South Korea's objective of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 includes increasing the share of hydrogen and ammonia energy production to 13.8-21.5%.

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Vinisha Joshi

Vinisha Joshi

Despite graduating with an engineering degree in electronics and communication, Vinisha Joshi chose the road less travelled, and decided to pursue her career in content writing . Currently, she pens down articles for and a few other distinguished news platforms, pertaining to business and finance.