SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, October 19, 2020 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced to open the “Sangam H2 Station” on October 19, where the eco-friendly hydrogen energy is generated and supplied for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) at one-stop for the first time in Korea. All Seoul citizens can use the station for free of charge by the end of this year.
Seoul has improved the fueling capacity since October last year for more convenient use and extended infrastructure. It completed the upgrade work and pilot operation and is now ready for the full operation.
The “Sangam H2 Station” was built near the World Cup Stadium initially for research purposes in 2011. It was open to the public in 2018 when FCEVs were commercialized. However, its generation capacity was limited and fueling pressure insufficient. The fueling pressure was 350 bar to fit the type of the FCEV which was researched and developed back then. Also, the station was in operation during the weekdays only due to the structural conditions.
Thanks to the upgrade work, the station now boasts more than doubled hydrogen fuel generation capacity from 75kg to 160kg so that it is able to refuel three times more vehicles a day from 10 to 30. The fueling pressure is also doubled from 350 bar to 700 bar. Unlike in the past where only half of an FECV was fueled per refueling, it can be fully fueled now. The distance that a fully fueled car can travel without an additional fueling has increased by 2.3 times from 300 km to 609 km. In other words, a car can make a round trip between Seoul and Daegu, a city located in the southern part of the country.
The Station is an “on-site type” fueling station where hydrogen fuel cell is generated and fueled through the hydrogen extractor developed by domestic technology. As the fuel is produced on site, it doesn’t have to be brought from a distant producer, which means less transportation cost and more stable supply. Whereas hydrogen only had to be separated and produced from CH4 gas from landfill before the upgrade work, now another methodology of separating hydrogen from LNG is added. It is the first time that both methods can be used for commercial purposes at the same time. The methodology of utilizing biogas from landfill is more eco-friendly than steam methane reforming stations using LNG only. Therefore, the Station is expected to become a leader among eco-friendly fueling stations.
The Station will be operated by “Seoul Energy Corporation”. By hiring more people, it will be on operation during the weekend as well as weekdays for extended working hours from 08:00 till 22:00 (previously 09:00 till 18:00) for more convenience of FCEV users.
To offer the fueling service for more citizens, Seoul limits one-time refueling capacity at 4kg (the maximum capacity is 6kg) so that 40 vehicles can be refueled a day. Visitors must make a reservation first on the “SangAm H2” application. The service will be free of charge by the end of this year.
The “Sangam H2 Station” has never had an accident since its operation initiation in 2011. The Seoul Metropolitan Government is operating with the highest priority on safety such as conducting safety diagnosis at least once a month in cooperation with the district and the Korea Gas Safety Corporation. The result of the joint inspection which has been conducted at least four times a year since 2011 shows that there has been no violation so far.
Along with the upgrade and operation of the station, Seoul will start receiving applications for FCEV subsidy on October 19 through the low-emission car purchasing subsidy supporting system (www.ev.or.kr) for the second round. A total of 300 vehicles will be subsidized (650 cars were selected for the first round).
The city government is giving subsidy to improve air quality with a target of 1,237 FCEVs this year, aiming to reduce fine dust and greenhouse gases downtown Seoul with more eco-friendly FCEVs along with Electric Vehicles (EVs).
Unlike internal combustion vehicles, FCEVs have no engine and don’t emit air pollutants. Also, they reduce fine dust in the air as they have an air purifying feature. The growing demand driven by the city’s efforts for more EVs and FCEVs and increasing interest led to rapid increase in the cumulative number of registered EVs and FCEVs as of the end of September 2020 by 47.9 percent and 97.8 percent up from the previous year, whereas the cumulative numbers of diesel and LPG vehicles merely decreased by 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
Cho Wan-Suk, Director of Climate Change & Sustainability Division at the city government, said, “the city’s policy of supplying FCEVs aims to promote the Green New Deal with eco-friendly vehicles emitting no air pollutants, realize healthy urban environment for citizens and deal with climate crisis in proactive manners.” He added, “this upgrade work of the “Sangam H2 Station” beefed up our fueling infrastructure. As more cars can be fueled a day with extended one-time fueling capacity, the citizens can use FCEVs now more conveniently. The city will continue to work on relevant policies to facilitate the supply of eco-friendly FCEVs.”