The Ministry of Environment on March 2 released this year's planned measures to achieve the nation's carbon neutrality goal by 2050, saying all motor vehicles will eventually be eco-friendly. The photo shows the electric-powered Hyundai Ioniq 5 launched on Feb. 23. (Hyundai Motor)


By Yoon Hee Young and Kim Minji

Korea has announced a transition from internal combustion vehicles to zero-emission models, one of the main strategies for achieving the government's carbon neutrality goal by 2050.

The Ministry of Environment on March 2 unveiled its planned initiatives this year to help achieve the 2050 objective and presented a clear direction for government policy to that end.

The ministry said it will devise 11 of 31 transition tasks with related organizations, adding that the main strategy is the nation's transition to future cars.

The strategy will be finalized in the second half of the year. The government will supply and innovate eco-friendly vehicles, expand charging infrastructure, and conduct research and hold forums on introducing eco-friendly vehicles.

The ministry will also release this year another strategy for reducing CO2 emissions and using nature and ecology to devise adaptation strategies. The idea is to respond to climate change by using natural ecosystems through maximizing benefits from them like climate modification and expanding the restoration of eco-spaces, which are carbon sinks.

Environment Minister Han Jeoung-ae said, "As a leading department for achieving carbon neutrality, the Ministry of Environment will promote transition in all sectors of society and set a foundation to achieve the carbon neutrality goal."

hyyoon@korea.kr

 

이낙연 국무총리가 31일 서울 종로구 역사박물관 앞에서 열린 경찰수소버스 시승식에서 경찰 기동대원들과 함께 기념촬영을 하고 있다. 연합뉴스

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (second from right) on Oct. 31 poses for a group selfie while on the nation's first fuel cell police bus with a group of police officers in front of Seoul's National Museum of Korean Contemporary History. (Yonhap News)



By Kang Gahui and Lee Hana


Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon on Oct. 31 joined a group of police officers in introducing the country's first fuel cell police bus.


Last year on Oct. 24 during an inspection meeting for national affairs, Lee had asked that all police buses based in Seoul's downtown area of Gwanghwamun Square be replaced with those running on hydrogen fuel cells. A little over a year later, the first such bus was shown to the public.


"By 2028, all police buses will be those powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The new buses will not only improve working conditions for police officers but also create a better environment for Seoul residents," he said during his visit.


Police buses using conventional internal combustion engines are typically left idle by the roadside for extended periods of time, creating noise and air pollution that civilians have long complained about. The new model, however, makes little noise and releases no harmful gases.


One model was parked on Oct. 31 by Gwanghwamun Square and another by the National Assembly in Seoul's Yeouido area for public viewing.


The Korean National Police Agency will purchase two fuel cell buses next year and gradually replace all police buses with the new model by 2021. Plans for introducing fuel cell patrol cars are also under review.


With the administration pushing for the development of vehicles running on hydrogen fuel cells to reduce particulate matter in the air and pioneer the future car market, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced a plan to develop eco-friendly vehicles by 2030 including fuel cell maintenance trucks.



이낙연 국무총리(가운데)가 31일 서울 광화문에서 열린 경찰 수소전기버스 시승식에서 MOU를 체결하고 기념촬영하고 있다. 현대자동차

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (center) on Oct. 31 attends a signing ceremony for the adoption of fuel cell police buses in front of the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History in Seoul. (Hyundai Motor Company)


kgh89@korea.kr




 

Ecube Labs CEO Sean Gwon on Dec. 14 presents his company’s products -- the monitoring solution Clean City Networks and the solar-powered trash compactor CleanCube -- at his office in Seoul’s Guro-gu District.

Ecube Labs CEO Sean Gwon on Dec. 14 presents his company’s products -- the monitoring solution Clean City Networks and the solar-powered trash compactor CleanCube -- at his office in Seoul’s Guro-gu District.



By Jung Joo-ri and Yoon Sojung
Photos = Choi Taesoon 
Seoul | Dec. 14, 2018 

Korea.net in 2019 will feature startups leading innovative growth in various sectors of the Korean economy. The second article in this series is about Ecube Labs, a provider of comprehensive solutions for waste management by using the internet of things (IoT), a major force propelling innovative growth.



Despite being largely ignored by most people, an emerging sector is quietly expanding with the advancement of society: waste collection and management. 


The rising volume of products and services is fueling the growth of waste in tandem. Despite relatively low interest in waste disposal and management, one startup in Seoul has created business opportunities by using new technologies in the field. 

Ecube Labs provides solutions for smart waste management while saving collection costs. In an interview with Korea.net on Dec. 14, 2018, at the company’s office in Seoul's Guro-gu District, CEO Sean Gwon defined his idea of innovation as "something that you can ignore unconsciously." 

"Many sectors have benefited from technological development but not the waste industry, which lacks efficiency and requires many improvements," he said.

On why he started this business, Gwon said, "The volume of the global market for waste collection is an estimated KRW 600 billion but the industry isn't competitive. So I deeply thought about what technological improvements were needed." 

The waste management platform CleanCityNetwork (CCN) of Ecube Labs is the company’s core technology that allows real-time monitoring of accumulated waste volume via personal computer, tablet PC or mobile device. The CCN also informs users of the shortest routes for waste collection.  (Ecube Labs homepage)

The waste management platform CleanCityNetwork (CCN) of Ecube Labs is the company's core technology that allows real-time monitoring of accumulated waste volume via personal computer, tablet PC or mobile device. The CCN also informs users of the shortest routes for waste collection. (Ecube Labs homepage)



Smart trash bins using renewable energy 

Opened in 2011, Ecube released the next year Clean Cube, a solar-powered trash compactor using wireless technology. Using solar energy batteries, Clean Cube-attached trash bins detect the quantity of waste they collect and can hold up to eight times more trash than non-compacting models. 

In 2015, Ecube developed CleanFlex, an ultrasonic fill-level sensor attachable to any trash can that monitors the quantity of contained waste. A trash can using CleanFlex monitors waste quantity through ultrasonic waves and detects fire hazards. 

CleanFlex collects waste data and sends them wirelessly to the CCN. Users can remotely check the volume of collected waste using the internet, resulting in lower cost thanks to using the shortest routes to collect waste and fewer visits to garbage containers. 

IoT boosts waste management efficiency 

In 2012, Ecube conducted a pilot project in which 70 CleanCube trash compactors were installed at four universities in Seoul -- Seoul National, Korea, Yonsei and Dongguk. The company has since installed 3,000 CleanCube trash compactors and CleanFlex in Seoul and throughout Korea as well as overseas including Washington, D.C., Shanghai, China, Birmingham, U.K., and Santiago, Chile. 

Ecube’s solar-powered trash compactors can be also found in public places abroad such as Hermosa Beach in Southern California as well as Dublin Airport in Ireland. In addition to regional government bodies and trash collection companies, private entities like the Dublin Airport Authority of Ireland have sought the company’s waste management solutions to reduce collection costs. 

On his company's most memorable overseas project, Gwon selected the so-called Melbourne Project in Australia's second-largest city. Ecube changed all trash cans downtown with 500 of its solar-powered waste compactors, raising waste collection efficiency up to 70 percent, he said. 

Ecube Lab’s solar-powered trash compactor monitors a container’s fill level and automatically compresses waste if the set limit is exceeded.

Ecube Lab's solar-powered trash compactor monitors a container's fill level and automatically compresses waste if the set limit is exceeded.




Demand for Ecube's method of waste management using wireless communication is rising among smart city projects worldwide. For example, the company in January last year won a bid in Baltimore, Maryland, to install 4,500 trash cans by 2020. 

Thanks to its extensive and varied experience, Ecube is pursuing a national project in Korea to build smart cities, a sector promoted by the government to lead innovative growth in the country.

Appointed to the smart city special committee in November 2017, Gwon has provided consultations to the provincial cities of Sejong and Busan on building smart cities equipped with cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. 

On his company's ultimate goal, he said, "We wish for all waste collection firms in the world to use our solutions."

"Almost all computers use the Windows operating system, right? Likewise, we hope that our products can become the Windows of waste management that all waste management companies use." 

etoilejr@korea.kr




 

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