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.


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

Busan facility can recycle just about anything

2013_04_busan_recyclingAt the Saenggok eco-recycling plant in Gangseo District, Busan, combustible waste is turning into another source of fuel energy.  When the JoongAng Ilbo visited Busan E&E April 9, trash was moving on a long conveyor belt to dry, which would then be used as fuel for a power plant located next to the plant. The eco-recycling plant burns 900 tons of trash for a period of 16 hours a day, generating 25 megawatts of electricity per hour.

The garbage that usually is buried in a landfill generates nearly 25 billion won ($22 million) worth of energy a year through the recycling process. Saenggok eco-recycling center is the largest in the country at 1.16 million square meters (287 acres).

The Busan Metropolitan Government invested 20.24 billion won to further upgrade the facility, which was built in 1994. At the complex are seven recycling facilities, some of which are in full operation while some are partly operational.  Each facility sorts out what could be recycled to be used as fuel with conveyor belts.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Government plans 18 thermal plants

Korea will build as many as 18 thermal power plants by 2027 while also significantly expanding the generation capacity of clean, renewable power sources, such as solar and wind farms, the government said yesterday. The move comes as the country’s electricity consumption is expected to grow by an annual average of 2.2 percent, from 482.5 billion kilowatt-hours this year to 655.3 billion kilowatt-hours by 2027.

The country’s peak power demand is expected to grow at a faster rate of 2.4 percent per year from 79.7 million kilowatts in 2013 to over 110 million kilowatts in 2027, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The government sets a 15-year power supply plan in place every two years. The latest is the sixth of its kind. Under the new plan, the government seeks to increase the total generation capacity of clean, renewable sources to 12 percent of total consumption in 2027, compared with only 7 percent in 2025 under the fifth power supply plan announced two years earlier.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Steel industry bets on business diversification

The nation’s major steelmakers are diversifying into non-core businesses such as energy, construction and agriculture to shore up falling profits.

POSCO, the world’s fourth-largest steelmaker by output, has cut its number of subsidiaries to 46 from 70 as of Jan., 1 mainly by merging those with overlapping businesses, the company said in a press release. The number of POSCO’s affiliates surged after takeover deals for the past few years, including Daewoo International, a trading company specializing in oil and gas exploration overseas, in 2011.

“On the group level, POSCO has driven in-house reorganization since March last year under the three principles of strengthening core businesses, trimming overlapped businesses and closing non-core businesses without cutting personnel,” a company official said. The steel giant will wrap up the reorganization by the end of this year and the number of its subsidiaries is expected to be cut to 30. “The POSCO streamlining came amid diversification of its business portfolio into non-steel sectors,” Byun Jong-man, an analyst from Woori Investment and Securities, said.

Fr full article see Korea Herald.

South Korea and U.S. halt talks on nuclear energy cooperation

South Korea and the United States have called a halt to their sensitive negotiation on future nuclear energy cooperation, an informed source here said Thursday. “Actual talks are deemed difficult this year,” said the source well versed in the issue, requesting anonymity.

South Korea’s Lee Myung-bak government “has decided to pass negotiations to the next administration,” added the source. Lee is to retire in February. Seoul instead plans to focus on efforts to publicize its position on the matter for the time being, the source said.

South Korean officials argue that the current pact with the U.S. is obsolete. The existing pact, signed in 1974 and set to expire in 2014, bans South Korea from enriching uranium even for commercial purposes and reprocessing nuclear waste from about two dozen reactors using U.S.-supplied nuclear materials.

For full article see Yonhap News.

Samsung SDI and LG Chem vie in energy storage system industry

LG Chem and Samsung SDI compete with each other in an energy storage system (ESS) demonstration project with different types of secondary battery technologies.

In the smart grid distribution project led by the Korea Smart Grid Institute under the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the consortiums of KT and the Korea Electric Power Industrial Development Corporation (KEPID), which have been selected as the preferred bidders, are predicted to adopt the batteries of LG Chem and Samsung SDI, respectively.

The purpose of the project is to save electricity at night, when the power rate is relatively lower, and use it during peak hours for more effective power supply. Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) monitors and controls household power usage remotely in real time.

For full article see Korea IT News.

Scientists develop fast recharging material for lithium-ion batteries

A group of South Korean scientists has developed a new material for a secondary or rechargeable battery that can be fully recharged in just a matter of minutes, the science ministry said Monday. The development of such a battery could significantly raise the popularity of electric vehicles whose lithium-ion batteries currently take hours to recharge, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

Conventional batteries use only powdered nanoparticle materials to form a dense, multi-layered structure that can store and give off energy. The new battery, on the other hand, uses the same type of nanoparticle materials that are first resolved in a solution that contains graphite, which later is carbonized to form a dense network of conductors all throughout the electrodes of the battery, the ministry said.

As a result, all energy-holding particles of the new battery start recharging simultaneously while the same particles in conventional batteries begin recharging in order from the outermost particles to the innermost.

For full article see Yonhap News.

Seoul City plans solar panels

Seoul Metropolitan Government  unveiled a plan to install solar panels on around 10,000 buildings, schools and houses by 2014. The city aims to increase the use of photovoltaic energy to 320 megawatts of electricity by that year.

Half of the energy will be generated from rooftops or idle facilities of public offices and schools, while the other half from private buildings and houses. The city will also make an online solar map that shows the expected generating capacity of the solar power and whether buildings and houses can be equipped with photovoltaic facilities.

For full article see Korea Herald.

Korea develops efficient, marketable bio oil plant

A Korean scientist has developed an indigenous technology to produce bio oil from only wood scraps that can be put to commercial use in the near future, a state research center said Thursday.

Such a technology already exists and is in use in other countries, but the new, indigenous technology will prove to be equally efficient and less expensive, according to the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM).

A prototype plant, developed by KIMM researcher Choi Yeon-seok, produces 9 kilograms of bio-crude oil per hour, using only 15 kilograms of sawdust.

For full article see Korea Times.