Yonhap. The South Korea government is laying out an ambitious plan for the country to become a functioning hydrogen economy by 2040, with a sizeable part of its transportation, power generation and household appliances operating on fuel cells.
In a meeting of economic ministers chaired by Minister of Finance and Economy Han Duck-soo on Friday, the government signed off on the blueprint which calls for more than half of all cars to operate on fuel cells by the target date.
The plan drawn up by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Economy, also calls for 22% of all power generation and 23% of electricity used by homes to be run on fuel cells.
The plan is part of a long-term government effort to establish a clean alternative source of energy for the time when the world's fossil fuel resources are expected to dry up around the middle of this century.
“South Korea relies heavily on fossil fuel, making it imperative to take serious action to develop energy resources that will not dry up,” a government expert said.
Hydrogen fuel cells could also, in S. Korea’s view, be good business. The government estimates that fuel cells will account for 8% of GDP by 2040, with a million new jobs and a 20% reduction in CO2...if all goes according to plan.
The hydrogen initiative is part of a larger renewable energy plan that began with a 325.9 billion won (US$321 million) R&D program for this year. For the short term, Korea plans to increase the use of renewable energy sources to 2.63% of the nation’ss energy consumption by year’s end. Renewable energy sources accounted for 2.3% of total energy consumption in 2004.