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South Korea's First Trash-Powered Hydrogen Plant Running by 2010

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LandfillDesolating image! When you need to buy something, next time just think of how many millions of tons of waste we produce every year. That could make you wonder if you really need that object. We have the tendency to buy more than we need, to consume more that necessary. And this has a huge impact on our environment.

South Korea is taking their first steps towards hydrogen production. Government has signed a memorandum of agreement with oil refiner SK Energy and SK Engineering & Construction to build the world’s first trash-powered hydrogen station. Both companies are subsidiaries of South Korean conglomerate SK Group. The plant will be able to extract hydrogen from methane emitted by landfills.

The hydrogen power plant will be functional in Nanjido, an island located on the suburbs of Seoul, and will be up and running by November 2010. This is the location of a former dump site, which accumulated 91 cubic metres of rubbish before city authorities stopped dumping of trash in 1993.

The production process is quite simple in theory: after separating the two constituent compounds of methane, hydrogen and carbon, hydrogen will be compressed in order to reach a 99.9% of purity. The resulted hydrogen will power 2 cars and 2 buses that run on hydrogen fuel cells. Also the plant will generate around 320 kilowatts of additional energy and will be used to supply electricity and hot water to the Nanji Art Studio on Nanjido Island.

The 4 vehicles will be supplied for free by Hyundai Motor company and they value will be around $4 million. These will be used as test-drive vehicles.

SK Energy officials said that the Nanjido hydrogen station will serve as basis for the future development of the company into a cutting-edge sources of energy provider.

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