SEOUL -- An eco-friendly power station based on hydrogen gas will be built by 2024 in a southwestern satellite city of Hwaseong. The 80-megawatt plant can supply electricity to about 185,000 households.
Hwaseong City, some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) southwest of Seoul, said that it signed a related business agreement on March 26 with Korea Western Power, a subsidiary of South Korea's state electric utility KEPCO, and Samchully, a fuel gas manufacturing and piping company.
"Hydrogen fuel cell generation is a future eco-friendly energy because it is more efficient than thermal power generation and significantly reduces carbon generation," Hwaseong Mayor Seo Cheol-mo said in a statement. "This hydrogen fuel cell power generation project will change the paradigm of South Korea's power generation industry as it will contribute to the energy welfare of local residents and return profits to citizens."
The city government will provide land, while Korea Western Power will build a power plant. Samchully is in charge of city gas. Korea Western Power will pay half of the total cost estimated at 545 billion won ($482 million), and the rest will be covered by a special purpose company. A civic fund will be introduced so that citizens can participate in the project and share the benefits of hydrogen generation.
Hydrogen power plants generate electricity by electrochemically reacting hydrogen with oxygen. Hydrogen can be extracted as a petrochemical process byproduct. Hydrogen fuel cells are getting popular as solutions for eco-friendly power plants because they can generate electricity without producing harmful emissions.
In January, a facility to demonstrate hydrogen power generation using fuel cells opened in the southeastern industrial city of Ulsan, which is pushing for a value chain to popularize fuel cell cars, heavy-duty trucks, construction equipment, trains and ships. The 1MW facility capable of supplying electricity to about 2,000 households was built on the complex of a power station.
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