EU Research & Innovation Day

The Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea and the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea are co-organising the 1st EU Research and Innovation Day in the Conrad Hotel, Seoul, Korea on 25 March, 2015.  In this event, all EU Member States and their major research and innovation organisations will also participate and share information with Korean counterparts about their policies, programmes and success stories. There will be ample opportunities for networking with present and future partners. Please join our event and experience the excellence of European research and innovation!

EU Research Day

For more information, click here.

For registration, click here.


LG opens 29,000 patents…raising USD 150 million venture fund

2015_02_LG innovation centerTo create the creative economy ecosystem in Chungcheongbuk-do, LG will open 29,000 patents and raise a venture fund to the tune of KRW150 billion. Also, LG affiliates, including LG Chem, will invest KRW1,600 billion over a 3-year period to invigorate the local creative economy.

The LG Group announced this plan at the launching ceremony for the Chungcheongbuk-do Creative Economy Innovation Center held at the Chungcheongbuk-do Knowledge Industry Promotion Agency in Ochang, Chungcheongbuk-do on February 4. President Park Geun-hye, Lee Si-jong governor of Chungcheongbuk-do, Koo Bon-moo chairman of LG and the CEOs of over 140 local small and medium-sized venture firms were present at this ceremony.

LG will install the ‘IP Support Zone’ which shares patents with local small and medium-sized venture firms. Here about 29,000 patents, including the 27,000 patents owned by LG and the 1,600 patents of 16 government-funded research institutions, will be opened for free or at minimal costs. Among them, 3,058 patents will be transferred to small and medium-sized venture firms free of charge. The patent areas include bio, beauty and energy, earmarked for the Chungcheongbuk-do area, as well as electronics, chemistry and communication.

For full article, see Korea IT News.

State power companies get cybersecurity orders

2015_02_cybersecurityThe Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) says state-run power companies will spend a total of 79 billion won ($71 million) on cybersecurity this year, an increase of 18 billion won. Minister Yoon Sang-jick on Thursday afternoon met with CEOs of 17 state-run energy companies, including the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Corporation (KHNP) and Korea Power Exchange.

Kepco, the nation’s sole power distributor, will get 28.4 billion won and KHNP 11.5 billion won. Each of the other companies will receive up to 4 billion won. The budget will be mostly spent on hiring security experts, maintaining internal network infrastructure and expanding maintenance teams. All 17 power companies will have to structure their internal network in five systems, from the current three.

The current system is broken down into a regular network that can access the Internet, an intranet that mainly deals with document processing, and an exclusive network to control the power plant. From now on, the intranet will have an additional system for confidential technical documents like power plant blueprints. The power plant control system will also be split into two networks to beef up security.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.


Hyundai Motor Group concentrating on hydrogen fuel cell vehicle development

2015_02_hydrogen-fuel-cellThe Hyundai Motor Group is planning to rank second in the global eco-friendly car market by 2020. To this end, the company is focusing on hydrogen fuel cell vehicle R&D at the Gwangju Creative Economy Innovation Center. At the same time, it is going to raise 177.5 billion won (US$162.3 million) in funds with the government for startups in the auto industry and better business management at small and medium enterprises. The funds include a so-called hydrogen fund of approximately 15 billion won (US$13.7 million), which will be spent on the hydrogen fuel cell industry. Industry-academic idea collection, expert consulting, and mentoring are scheduled, and stations are set up for LPG and CNG-based hydrogen and electric power generation, sale, and storage.

Joint research activities and programs will be underway as well to replace imported hydrogen vehicle parts with domestically-developed ones. Specifically, these will cover the development of separation membranes, base materials, storage, and transfer techniques for fuel cells and external power transmission technology, and so on. According to the Nikkei BP Cleantech Institute, the global fuel cell market is estimated to reach 400 trillion won (US$366 billion) in 2030. The hydrogen fuel cell industry of Korea is expected to exceed 107 trillion won (US$97.9 billion) by 2040, and they expect to create about 175,000 jobs and produce 23.5 trillion won (US$21.5 billion) of goods.

For full article, see Business Korea.

Heat-powered battery from KAIST wins award

2015_01_heat powered battery
Provided by Netexplo

A Korean developed battery that can be recharged using body heat has won a Netexplo Award, Unesco’s list of the top 10 digital innovations of the year, the organization said Thursday. A research team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist) led by electrical engineering Prof. Cho Byung-jin demonstrated the technology in April.

Netexplo Awards are given annually to tech inventions worldwide that have had a major influence on human lives in areas such as energy, environment and education. About 200 IT experts vote to pick 10 winners.

The battery, which Kaist said can be installed in a wearable device, is the first of its kind that recharges automatically when worn. The battery is made of fiberglass with a thin piece of thermoelectric film and must be attached to the part of the wearable that comes in contact with skin. It can be used in pedometers or smartwatches. After the battery is removed from the heat source, on a simple activity tracker, the Kaist battery will last twice as long as batteries that are currently used. But in a smartwatch, which has a larger display and more functions, the Kaist battery will last up to 30 percent longer once it is not being worn.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

LG Chem to invest $1.5 billion this year

2015_01_LGSouth Korea’s top chemical firm LG Chem aims for resurgence with the aggressive investment plan for this year. According to the chemical company on Tuesday, it is planning to invest a total of 1.7 trillion won ($1.5 billion) in major businesses such as petrochemical, information and electronic materials and li-ion batteries this year. The amount of investment is an increase of 13.3 percent from last year’s 1.5 trillion won.

By sector, the company would invest 730 billion won in adding production lines, 300 billion won in research and development and 760 billion won in the existing businesses. If investment in fixed assets and separate personnel expenses are included, research & development investment would climb to a total of 610 billion won. The figure is up 20 billion won from last year. Eyes are on the aggressive investment plan by LG Chem especially as most chemical and oil refining companies are considering freezing or scaling back investment this year.

For full article, see Maeil Business.

New chairman of POSCO paying attention to electric vehicle industry

POSCO’s new Chairman Kwon Oj-joon, who is scheduled to take office on March 14, has decided on electric vehicles (EVs) as his company’s future growth driver. POSCO and its subsidiaries are planning to create new business opportunities in the EV industry by working on automobile steel sheets, auto parts, and battery materials. The steelmaker announced on March 13 that its subsidiaries participate in the first International Electric Vehicle Expo, which kicks off on March 15 in Jeju. POSCO, POSCO ICT, POSCO Chemtech, POSCO ESM, and many others are showing off their advanced technology in the world’s first EV expo.

The company is currently supplying steel sheets for Evs, and is going to focus more on related components and materials. The super-light, high-strength steel plates developed by POSCO are used mainly to manufacture EV frames and outer panels. When compared to existing products, these use at least 40 percent more ultra-high strength steel (UHSS) to reduce the weight of a vehicle body by approximately 25 percent while also satisfying the international collision safety regulations that become effective in 2015. The products are already used in Renault Samsung Motors’ SM3 Z.E. and GM Korea’s Spark EV. Kia Motors’ Soul EV is going to use the same products, too.

POSCO is concentrating as well on the development of lithium, which is a key material for secondary batteries, magnesium used in vehicle frames and panels, and neodymium permanent magnets for use in motors. The company will set up a pilot plant in Argentina in this context.

For full article, see Business Korea.


SKKU develops world’s most efficient solar cell

Professor Seok Sang-il of Sungkyunkwan University
Professor Seok Sang-il of Sungkyunkwan University

A group of researchers have developed a next-generation, more economical perovskite-based solar battery, thereby creating the world’s most efficient solar cell. Led by Professor Seok Sang-il of Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), the team announced on January 9 that they have successfully developed a new perovskite solar cell technology. The newly developed solar cells are priced at one third the price of existing silicon solar cells and show an efficiency performance rate of 20.1 percent, equivalent to existing silicon solar cells.

This is now the most efficient solar cell officially recognized by the U.S.-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Currently, silicon solar cells account for about 90 percent of the solar cell market. Silicon solar cells are made from high-purity silicon. They are highly efficient at transforming solar energy into electric energy. Their weaknesses, however, is their complicated production process and expensive price.

For full article, see

In 2015 low-cost wirelessly charged electric buses will come

2015_01_OLEV2KAIST announced on January 5 that it recently embarked on the ‘low-cost wireless charging electric bus commercialization project’ as part of the national project of the Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. It is planning to put them on bus routes as commercial vehicles by the end of this year. Daewoo Bus, LS Cable & System, Korea Electric Vehicle Service as well as Dongwon OLEV, which has the online charging technology, will participate in this project.

Electric wires will be buried underneath the road to create a magnetic field, and receive magnetic force from this vehicle wirelessly and convert it into electricity, and this electric bus will use this electricity as a power source. Unlike ordinary electric vehicles that must stop by charging stations, it is capable of real-time charging while it is stopped for transfer, etc. For this reason, it can use only 20% of the existing electric bus battery capacity to run the same distance. As the battery gets smaller, the cost can be reduced and it weighs less, thereby greatly improving operating efficiency. KAIST recently decided to raise the charging efficiency from 70% to 85% for the project by enhancing the technology.

For full article, see Korea IT News.