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South Korea to generate electricity with bio-heavy oil

South Korea’s Trade Ministry announced legislation approving the use of bio-heavy oil made with animal fat to produce electricity here, in a move toward the Moon Jae-in administration’s goal to boost the use of clean energy Monday.

According to the ministry’s enforcement of regulations on petroleum and its substitute fuel, power stations here will be allowed to use bio-heavy oil starting as early as January.

The government has conducted test runs and research using bio-heavy oil made with animal fat, leftover cooking oil and biodiesel by-products since 2014 at five power stations that run on bunker-C oil, and has found the renewable energy to be adequate as a substitute, the ministry said.


This comes as the Moon administration has pledged to cut down the use of nuclear energy to 23.9 percent and raise renewable energy to 20 percent by 2030.

“Electricity generated using renewable energy will increase once bio-heavy oil is commercialized. This will contribute to reaching the government’s ‘Renewable Energy 2030’ goal, cutting down on fine dust and greenhouse gas emissions,” the Trade Ministry said.

Details on quality standards of bio-heavy oil will be finalized by the end of the year.

Power plant-exclusive bio-heavy oil produces almost no sulfur oxides, and when compared to heavy oil it emits 39 percent less nitrogen oxide, 28 percent less fine dust and 85 percent less greenhouse gases, according to research from the Korea Petroleum Quality and Distribution Authority.

It also has lower initial investment than other renewable sources, as it could be used at existing facilities that use bunker-C oil. 

By Kim Bo-gyung (