S. Korea to allow drivers to self-charge hydrogen vehicles through regulatory reform

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : May 9, 2023, 17:59 Updated : May 9, 2023, 19:27

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- South Korea will allow hydrogen vehicle drivers to self-charge their vehicles at urban charging stations like ordinary self-charging gas stations by 2024 through regulatory reforms and new safety infrastructure. Currently, the country prohibits drivers from charging their own hydrogen vehicles. In South Korea, liquified petroleum gas stations and liquefied natural gas stations also only allow workers with government-issued certification to charge vehicles. 
Despite hydrogen cars' eco-friendly features, they have been shunned by South Korean consumers because of a lack of charging infrastructure and a general perception that such stations could explode and devastate nearby areas. Hydrogen charging stations should be built 12 to 32 meters away from their surrounding facilities and various safety devices such as protective barriers should be installed in the stations.
However, the government has tried hard to adopt hydrogen vehicles to curb carbon emissions and push for Renewable Energy 100 (RE100), an initiative seeking to source 100 percent of electricity consumption from renewables and accelerate change towards zero-carbon grids. The Ministry of Environment unveiled its scheme to adopt a total of 624 hydrogen fuel cell buses in two southern port cities -- Busan and Ulsan -- and South Gyeongsang Province by 2025.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy released a roadmap on May 9 which contains regulatory reforms such as easing regulations for hydrogen stations to secure a distance of 12 to 32 meters with surroundings. By 2023, the government will revise regulations so that urban hydrogen charging stations can be easily built in urban regions. The ministry will come up with new safety measures to enable drivers to self-charge their hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles by 2024.
"We will improve regulations to suit features of the new hydrogen sector through the roadmap so that companies can push for hydrogen businesses," 2nd Vice Minister Park Il-jun said in a statement on May 9. 
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