By Riyaz ul Khaliq
In a push towards energy-efficiency, South Korea aims to produce over 6 million hydrogen-run cars over the next twenty years, local media reported on Thursday.
"Our government's determination to [build] a hydrogen economy is firm," President Moon Jae-in said during a visit to the industrial city of Ulsan as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
The Seoul administration revealed the ambitious project in the presence of leaders from hydrogen-related businesses including the country's auto giant Hyundai Motor Company.
In the coming four years, the Seoul administration plans to increase the number of hydrogen-powered vehicles in the country to 80,000, according to the report.
The government believes that the strong potential of hydrogen fuel will create new jobs and revive sluggish manufacturing businesses, including small and medium-sized companies.
Ulsan-based Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor takes the lead in the hydrogen car market with the Nexo.
Asia’s fourth largest economy is ambitious about generating 43 trillion South Korean won ($38.3 billion) and creating 420,000 new jobs in the market by 2040.
“South Korea will produce 6.2 million units of fuel cell electric vehicles and build 1,200 refilling stations across the country by 2040, in a major industrial push aimed at securing energy independence and assuming a leadership role in hydrogen technology,” the news agency said.
Stressing that fuel cell technology would lead the country’s future growth, the Moon-led Seoul administration is offering sops in form of subsidies to customers to boost the sale of the fuel-cell electric taxis and trucks besides all the 820 police busses that will be replaced with fuel-cell electric busses in 2021.
The plan is to decarbonize the country which relies on oil for its energy needs from the Middle East.
“We can take the lead in [establishing] a hydrogen economy by connecting [technology] with traditional manufacturing sectors including the auto, shipping and petrochemical industries,” Moon said.