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Military to purchase more hydrogen vehicles, drones

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, second from left, is briefed Wednesday by a military official on Korean`s progress on military drone development. The Defense Ministry is planning to buy five more hydrogen-powered vehicles for military purpose by the end of next year while reviewing to use hydrogen-run drones made by Doosan Mobility Innovation for military operations. (Ko Jun-tae/The Korea Herald)
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, second from left, is briefed Wednesday by a military official on Korean`s progress on military drone development. The Defense Ministry is planning to buy five more hydrogen-powered vehicles for military purpose by the end of next year while reviewing to use hydrogen-run drones made by Doosan Mobility Innovation for military operations. (Ko Jun-tae/The Korea Herald)
DAEJEON -- South Korea’s military will operate more hydrogen fuel cell cars and drones, government ministries said Wednesday, while announcing a plan to set up a hydrogen fueling station in the city of Daejeon.

Three government ministries -- defense, commerce and environment -- inked a memorandum of understanding with private partners Hyundai Motor and Doosan Mobility Innovation for the plans, during a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun.

Under the agreement, the Defense Ministry will purchase five more hydrogen-powered vehicles for military purpose by the end of next year and gradually expand the figure based on the results of test operation. Currently, the ministry operates five Hyundai Motor Nexo SUVs. 

The vehicles will run at the Army Training & Doctrine Command here, where the country’s first hydrogen fueling station will be built by the first half of next year.

The charging station, for use of both civilian and military vehicles and a second to be installed in the region, is expected to boost the number of hydrogen vehicles in the Daejeon area, the ministry said.

The Defense Ministry will provide an area for the station, and the Commerce Ministry will provide necessary policy support, while the Environment Ministry will be in charge of running the construction project.

Also under the agreement, the Defense Ministry will review using hydrogen-run drones made by Doosan Mobility Innovation for military operations. The ministry said Doosan’s hydrogen-run drones can fly around for more than two hours, compared to 30 minutes for regular drones out on the market.

Chung said the government will provide any additional support as needed to foster Korea’s hydrogen economy.

“South Korea has been an excellent follower in areas where we lag behind compared to other countries, and there are countless examples of that,” he said during the event. “But with hydrogen economy, I want our country to take the lead and set an example for other countries to follow.”

The government is planning to expand the share of renewable energy sources while encouraging owners of outdated fossil fuel vehicles to eco-friendly alternatives, as part of the Korean New Deal which is aimed at helping the country overcome the coronavirus crisis and achieve sustainable growth. 

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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