On Wednesday (March 2nd) the Korea Institue of Energy Technology (Kentech) welcomed its first students at its brand new campus in Naju, Jeollanamdo. Kentech is Korea’s first and only university dedicated to energy studies, vowing to foster global talents in fight of climate change and to master the transition to renewable green energy.
The major research areas of Kentech are energy artificial intelligence (AI), new energy materials, the next-generation grid, hydrogen energy, and environmental and climate technology.
The university plans with up to 1,000 students and 100 professors by 2025, the long-term goal is to establish Kentech as one of the world’s top 10 universities by 2050.
Hyundai Steel and POSCO, Korea’s two largest steel manufacturers are starting a joint project in order to recycle seashells for producing steel. So far steelmakers rely on limestone in order to break down iron ore into fine pieces. However, Hyundai Steel and POSCO aim to go greener and as South Korea alone produces over 300,000 tons of discarded seashells every year, the companies plan to recycle them as a replacement for limestone.
Just as limestone, seashells are made mostly of calcium carbonate. So far it was not sure whether or not seashells could be used in the same way as limestone in order to produce steel, as so far no technology existed to extract the needed substance from the seashells. However, thanks to years of research by Jeollanamdo based company Yeosu Bio, engineers came up with the necessary technology on behalf of the two steel giants.
This new technology is hoped to help solve environmental issues connected to steel production and to help the two companies to ensure carbon neutrality in the future.
Moreover, their main steel plant, which is also the largest steel plant in the world is located in the Gwangyang Bay Area in the southern part of Jeollanamdo. Therefore, Jeollanamdo will play an important role in the upcoming greener production of steel.
More information on the Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone can be found here.
Kim Yung-rok, governor of South Korea’s province Jeollanamdo and Jesper Frost Rasmussen, mayor of Esbjerg Commune in the Kingdom of Denmark signed a MoU on Wednesday (30.06.2021) morning.
Through the memorandum both parties promise closer cooperation in the fields of renewable energy to fight climate change together. They plan to achieve this by exchanging information and experience as well as exploring possibilities for joint commercial projects and partnerships.
The main focus of this new cooperation will be on offshore wind energy. Just earlier this year, Jeollanamdo has announced to build a 8.2 GW wind farm at the coast of Sinan county. It will become the largest wind farm in the world. Jeollanamdo and Esbjerg are ideal partners, as Esbjerg is one of the world’s leading ports in providing infrastructure for off shore wind parks in the North Sea of Europe.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the signing ceremony was held online. The MoU will have a duration of three years but can be expended.
During a business forum in Madrid, Spain, with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, South Korea’s President Moon Jae In proposed a closer partnership between the two countries in order to tackle climate change in a combined effort.
Shortly after the meeting two Spanish firms revealed their plans to invest a combined sum of $ 200 m in the renewable energy business in South Korea. While the Madrid based company Ocean Winds will make an initial investment of $ 100 m to establish an offshore wind power plant in Incheon, EDPR will invest an additional $ 100 m in a solar power farm in Goheung, Jeollanamdo.
This investment is another big step in Jeollanamdo’s blue economy plan to become a center of Korea’s renewable energy industry. Just earlier this year, President Moon unveiled plans for the world’s biggest wind farm just west of the coast of Mokpo (Read more here).
Several global players in the chemistry industry have announced to expand the production in their factories in Jeollanamdo. Among them were Korea’s biggest chemical producer LG Chem, as well as Hanwha Corp. and the Korean-Japanese joint venture Kumho Mitsui Chemicals.
Kumho Mitsui Chemicals is a joint venture between Japanese Mitsui Chemicals and Korean Kumho Petrochemical which was formed in 1989. The company announced to add another production facility to its already existing facilitiy in Yeosu, Jeollanamdo. This expansion will increase Kumho Mitsui Chemicals production of polyurethane from 410,000 tons up to 610,000 tons. The additional facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, aiming to start production in early 2024. The expansion is part of Kumho Mitsui Chemical’s vow to contribute to the global fight against global warming. Polyurethane is used in many parts such as the automobile industry and housing sector where it is used as thermal insulation material with a high insulation efficiency.
Hanwha Corp. is another major Korean chemical cooperation which has announced to increase its production capacities in Yeosu Industry Complex, Jeollanamdo. The goal is to build another nitric acid plant in Yeosu in order to four-fold the already existing production capacities, from 120,000 tons up to 520,000 tons. Nitric-acid is used for producing semiconductor and display cleaning solutions. Another part of the production capacity will be used to produce dinitrotoluene, a raw material to produce polyurethane. Hanwha aims to finish the construction of the plant by 2023.
Unlike Kumho Mitsui Chemicals and Hanwha Corp., LG Chem has already finished the construction of an additional facility in order to increase the drastically growing demand for carbon nanotubes. The additional facility will increase the output by 1,200 metric tons from originally 500 tons to now 1,700 tons. Carbon nanotubes are a raw material used in the production of electric vehicle batteries.
The continuous increase in investment in Jeollanamdo proves that Jeollanamdo is taking a leading role in South Korea’s fight against global warming and in the search for eco-friendly solutions in industrial productions. Just last month Korea’s steel giant POSCO has announced similar plans to increase its production capacities in Jeollanamdo and to build Korea’s first ever lithium extraction factory.
South Korea’s steel giant POSCO plans to build Korea’s first ever lithium-hydroxide extraction factory in Gwangyang, Jeollanamdo. Lithium-hydroxide (LiOH) is one of the most important components when building battery cathodes for electric vehicles. With the rising demand for batteries because of a rapidly growing EV-market POSCO wants to prepare for the future, in accordance to its own expansions in the EV-production business. As the lithium price is rising continuously due to the rapid increase in EV-production, South Korea aims to be less reliant on importing Lithium from the global market. So far Korea had to import its lithium from South America, the US and China.
The factory is going to be a joint investment by POSCO and the Australian lithium producer Pilbara Minerals. Construction of the plant will already start in mid 2021 and the factory will be finished by 2023. By then the new lithium factory will produce around 43,000 tons of lithium per year. With this amount POSCO can directly and locally supply the lithium for up to 1,000,000 electric vehicles batteries. Building on this, POSCO is already planning to further expand the extraction of lithium so that by the end of 2030 over 220,000 tons of lithium can be directly extracted at Jeollanamdo.
Gwangyang in Jeollanamdo was the logical choice for POSCO as it has already been running a demo-factory in Gwangyang and is operating additional factories in the Gwangyang Bay Area. Just earlier this year in February POSCO Chemical has announced the 4th expansion of its battery cathode plant in Gwangyang. Therefore the extracted lithium can be directly processed at Gwangyang.
As one of the most important locations in EV production and research, Jeollanamdo is also hosting the yearly Yeonggwang e-Mobility EXPO in Yeonggwang. For further information click here.
After visiting the Naro Space Center in Goheung, Jeollanamdo earlier this week to observe a combustion test President Moon Jae-in made a pledge by 2030 Korea will land on the moon, powered by a Korea-made rocket. This rocket, named Nuri opens South Korea’s door to a very exclusive club of 7 nations which are capable of designing, building and launching its own rockets and satellites into earth’s orbit without the help of other nations.
The first launch of the Nuri rocket is planned for this year October. The rocket is capable of sending practical satellites up to 1.5 tons up into earth’s orbit and is developed using nothing but homegrown technology.
In his speech President Moon explained the goals for Korea’s space program. His vision is to make Korea a leading nation in space exploration.
We will actively push for challenging space exploration projects that build on the foundation achieved by developing a Korean launch vehicle. Next year, Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter will be launched, and by 2030, we will achieve our dream of landing on the Moon by using our own launch vehicle. The technological prowess, experience and confidence that will be gained from exploring the Moon, the first step in space exploration, will provide a solid foundation for space development. Also regarding Apophis, an asteroid that will pass near Earth in 2029, an exploration plan will be established following feasibility studies.
Moon Jae In, March 25.
Korea’s rockets and satellites are being launched from Korea’s own spaceport at Goheung in Jeollanamdo while the technology is being developed at Naro Space Center.