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Introducing Korea’s recycled byproduct-hydrogen fuel cell power plant



South Korean firm Hanwha Energy has announced completion of an innovative new power plant at its Seosan-based Daesan Industrial Complex.

The plant represents two major milestones: firstly as the largest industrial hydrogen fuel cell power plant in the world and secondly as the first in the world to use only recycled hydrogen from petrochemical manufacturing. 

“With the completion of this plant, we will help the government establish a roadmap to a hydrogen economy while boosting the local economy,” said Hanwha Energy CEO In-Sub Jung. 

The potential for hydrogen power has long been touted by renewable energy innovators, with its use in an electrochemical reaction generating energy leaving only water vapour as a byproduct. However, creating the hydrogen to begin with is a costly challenge. 

Hanwha benefits from its ability to use hydrogen that itself is a byproduct of its petrochemical plant. The Daesan Industrial Complex expanded its aromatic hydrocarbon production in 2015, which resulted in excessive amounts of hydrogen byproduct. In the past this hydrogen would simply have been burned off, but the company had sought to reduce its emissions through a “No Combustion, No Air Pollution” policy. So a more effective solution was sought. 

Up to three tons of hydrogen is produced at the plant every hour. This is now pumped to the newly built power plant via underground pipes, where it is fed to fuel cells to generate electricity. According to the firm, the 50MW plant can generate up to 400,000 MWh of electricity - enough to power 160,000 South Korean homes.

The sustainability doesn’t end there. Up to 120,000 metric tons of water vapour per year is created as a byproduct of the electricity generation - all of which is condensed and pumped back into Hanwha Total Petrochemical. 

Construction of the plant coast around $212 million and takes up around 20,000 square metres. While other projects to create energy with recycled hydrogen have been relatively small - producing less than 1MW of power - Hanwha claim that theirs is the first to mass produce electricity in this way. 

Proven successful, the technology could now be considered for other facilities around the world, ushering in a new era of recycled hydrogen as a sustainable fuel source. 

"This ground-breaking model for electricity generation is attracting attention from industrial-plant operators in Korea, China, India, and the U.S.” said a spokesperson from the company.

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Recent Comments
Eletrical.Instrument and Hazardous Area Equipment Inspectors
KIL YEONG JEONG, 16 August 2020
Good afternoon, my name is Santos Cabrera, I am a resident mechanical engineer in Panama, in the formation of a company related to the energy issue, I would be interested in being able to contact your company with interest in introducing that new technology, without more. ing, Santos
Santos Cabrera Font, 19 August 2020
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Introducing Korea’s recycled byproduct-hydrogen fuel cell power plant - Time to read 3 min
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