POSCO Energy Co., the energy unit of South Korea’s top steelmaker, POSCO, has been developing a wide range of high-efficiency fuel cells for its clean energy project since 2007. The company recently held a press conference in Tokyo to introduce two types of fuel cells using molten carbonate, which are designed for natural, biogas and coal-based power plants. Japan was selected as the first international market as it searches for power sources that can withstand disasters and complement services provided by utilities following the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami.
A 2.5-megawatt fuel cell facility, which can power 3,000 households, only needs an area as wide as a basketball court, a space that cramped cities could easily accommodate, Kim Tae-hyun, the company’s marketing director, said. The company pledged to further develop the fuel cell technology as part of its renewable energy project, which would also help boost the nation’s manufacturing industry.
“About 1,400 components are needed to build a fuel cell power plant. This helps create jobs in the related field, as in our case where we work with about 380 contractors,” POSCO Energy CEO Hwang Eun-yeon said. POSCO Energy is planning to expand its business to Asia and the Middle East, aiming for fuel cell sales of 2.5 trillion won (US$2.4 billion) by 2020, up from 300 billion won last year.
The company operates fuel cell power plants with a total capacity of 146 megawatts in 26 locations in South Korea, and it is set to complete construction of a fuel cell power plant with a capacity of 300 kilowatts in Indonesia later this year.