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Korea Adds Hydrogen Plant as it Approves Giant Floating Wind Farm Plan

Korea floating offshore wind farm adds hydrogen plant
Concept of the Donghae 1 floating wind farm (KNOC)

Published May 6, 2021 2:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

Plans for Korea’s first large-scale floating offshore wind farm, proposed to be the largest in the world, cleared a key hurdle while a consortium of Korean companies also announced plans to add a plant to produce green hydrogen to the project. Known as Donghae 1, the East Sea project would build a 200 MW floating wind farm off Ulsan in South Korea close to the existing natural gas field.

The Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and the Korean power company Korea East-West Power (EWP) announced that the East Sea 1 floating offshore wind power project completed its preliminary feasibility study conducted by the Korea Development Institute (KDI). The companies said it was the latest step in the project which they expect will commence construction in 2022 and generate power in 2024. The company said that the first wind sensors had been installed at the proposed location in October 2018 and agreements with Ulsan and private companies had been reached in 2020. 

“If we succeed in realizing the project, the Donghae floating offshore wind project will be the world’s biggest floating wind farm, more than twice the size of Hywind Tampen on the Norwegian continental shelf. A floating offshore wind farm of this size will help further increase the competitiveness of floating offshore wind power in the future,” said Stephen Bull, senior vice president for the wind and low carbon cluster of New Energy Solutions at Equinor in 2019 when Equinor joined the consortium to develop the site. At the time, the project was also the first floating wind farm proposed for Asia.

The project is part of the Korean Green Deal which calls for investing more than $42 billion to build a massive wind farm complex off the southwest coast of the country. Over the next decade, the government is calling for the development of a total of over eight gigawatts of wind-generated power as part of its plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

KNOC announced another element of the plan will include the construction of a plant in the East Sea near the wind and gas fields to produce green hydrogen. Eight companies, including Hyundai Heavy Industries and the Korean conglomerate Doosan, plan to participate in the plan to build a 100-megawatt hydrogen plant by 2025.

Hyundai Heavy Industries will develop the plant to produce hydrogen from seawater using electricity generated from the floating offshore wind farm. Under the plan, Hyundai will establish a new business unit that will handle the production of hydrogen to be used both in the shipping industry and onshore transportation.

As part of Korea’s Green New Deal, the government projects that by 2040 there will be over six million hydrogen-fueled vehicles, and they plan to build a vast network of hydrogen fueling stations across the country.