There are now more than 35 thousand Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) in the Republic of Korea, serviced by 164 CNG or LNG stations, reports the International Energy Agency’s AMFI Newsletter. Promoted by the government’s Ministry of Environment since 2000, the Korean NGV population is made up of about 80% OEM transit buses and 20% OEM trucks and bi-fuel retrofit passenger cars, NGVs are predominantly powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) and have contributed to reduced air pollution in the cities by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Dedicated CNG buses and trucks are supplied by Korean auto makers such as Hyundai, Daewoo Bus and Tata Daewoo. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) has also been taken up as an alternative fuel. Hyundai has developed dedicated LNG buses and there are some LNG dual-fuel trucks in operation.
According to NGV Global statistics, Korea had 32,441 NGVs at end 2011, meaning a growth rate of approximately 8% appears to have been achieved through 2012.
A government project team is working on development of a Euro VI compliant HCNG engine with the objective of reducing CO2 emissions by more than 10% compared to a CNG bus, and CO emissions by up to 55%. Partners include KOGAS, Korea Gas Safety Corporation, Daewoo Bus and Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials (KIMM). Field trials are anticipated to commence 2015.