South Korea’s plans to pump billions of dollars into hydrogen are positioning it to take on Europe as the leader in the emerging technology, although it’s lagging behind on investing in the cleanest form of the fuel.
The Asian nation is among around a dozen countries that have strategies for hydrogen, a carbon-free gas that can be burnt or used in fuel cells for power generation or transportation. Cleaner than wind or solar, the technology is expected to eventually play a major role in the global energy mix but is still in its infancy and requires a lot of investment before it’s commercially viable.
South Korea has made substantial hydrogen investments, with the bulk of it in the mid-stream segment, said Yong-Liang Por, a Hong Kong-based analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Green hydrogen, the cleanest form of the fuel, is “conspicuously missing” from the plan and this may need to be addressed to ensure security of supply as Posco will need almost 2 million tons of it per year to fully decarbonize its operations, he said.