July 7, 2022

The South Korean government in a bid to phase out the use of fossil fuels and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions announced to develop hydrogen and ammonia as feedstock for thermal power generation.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, with an aim of introducing hydrogen and ammonia in the fuel mix for thermal pants as early as 2030, it has launched a public-private council to lead the research.

The ministry’s envisions the plan that more than half of the country’s coal-fired thermal power plants, or at least 24 of them to use a fuel mix consisting of 20 percent ammonia as early as 2030.

The government plans to make local gas-fired thermal power plants to use a mix of liquefied natural gas and 30 percent hydrogen. And in the following years to come by, it will increase the hydrogen proportion beyond 30 percent by 2035.

It further intends to launch research projects to secure necessary technologies, to achieve the goal, such as the one for the development of new turbines for hydrogen and ammonia fuel mix.

The director of the material component industry division of the ministry, Kang Kyung-sung commented that the introduction of hydrogen and ammonia at local thermal power plants will reduce stranded assets of those power plants. While it would also provide the government with flexibility to cope with the variability and uncertainty that renewable energy transition may likely deliver.

The ammonia supply chain, starting from its procurement to delivery to the power plants will be established by the ministry after building facilities that can store ammonia during the next year.

Several countries have also been testing the use of hydrogen and ammonia at thermal power plants.

According to reports, in the US, GE is currently helping an Ohio-based 485-megawatt power facility to burn hydrogen. The facility in the early stage is expected to burn around 15-20 percent hydrogen by volume in the gas stream, which later will be increased up to 100 percent in the future.

In Japan, Kawasaki Heavy Industries too has reportedly built a pilot thermal plant that has a 1MW gas turbine fueled by both hydrogen and natural gas.