It has been reported that one in 12 hydrogen charging stations in highway service areas stops operation due to a breakdown once a month. While the number of hydrogen cars increased three times during the last two years in South Korea in accordance with the government’s efforts to boost the hydrogen economy, the relevant infrastructure remains poor.
According to the report submitted by the Korea Expressway Corporation to Song Seog-jun, a member of the People Power Party and the Land Infrastructure and Transport Committee of the National Assembly, on Monday, there was a total of 221 cases of breakdown of hydrogen car charging stations in service areas from April 2019 when they first started operating to August 2021 – 61, 87, and 73 cases in 2019, 2020, and 2021 (as of August), respectively.
Given that there are 12 hydrogen charging stations in service areas at the moment, a charging station broke down every 31.7 days. Hanam Dream Service Area in Gyeonggi Province had the most at 50 cases, followed by Anseong Service Area in Gyeonggi Province with 35, Yeoju Service Area in Gyeonggi Province with 34, and Seongju Service Area in North Gyeongsang Province with 30 cases.
The major causes of breakdown were issues with a cooler or compressor. A charging station in Anseong Service Area (Busan direction) had suspended operation for nine days due to the rupture of a high-pressure hose in October 2019, and a charging station in Eonyang Service Area in Ulsan had stopped operation for five days due to an issue with a compressor in September last year. Chuncheon Service Area (Busan direction) had stopped operating its charging station for four days in July this year.
The government is making efforts to distribute hydrogen cars by providing up to 36 million won of subsidies per hydrogen car under the goal to achieve carbon neutrality. As a result, the number of hydrogen cars tripled from 5,083 in 2019 to 16,206 as of the end of August this year. However, the infrastructure for hydrogen cars is still poor. The government plans to install 310 hydrogen charging stations until 2022, but there are only 114 at the moment. “Not only the installation of hydrogen car charging stations but also other infrastructure should be built,” said Song.