May 14, 2020. South Korea will carry out a test-run of a garbage truck powered by hydrogen in line with its vision to utilize the resource as one of main energy sources for Asia’s No. 4 economy.

Under the plan, the country will deploy a five-ton compressed natural gas (CNG) truck in the southern city of Changwon to collect trash, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy. The pilot program will run through 2021 before being expanded to other regions.

South Korea has been seeking to build a society that harnesses hydrogen as the main source of energy for vehicles and other daily uses. The policy is considered one of the key projects pushed by the Moon Jae-in administration.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked the world’s awareness over health and safety. Demand for environment-friendly hydrogen fuel cell cars will grow down the road,” Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo said during a meeting with officials from the Korea Automotive Technology Institute and Hyundai Motor Co.

The country operates 10 hydrogen fuel cell taxis in the capital city of Seoul, with 10 more to be added later this year. It also plans to replace existing express buses with hydrogen-powered models.

The accumulated sales of hydrogen fuel cell cars in South Korea reached 5,083 in 2019, soaring from only 87 in 2016, according to the ministry. Outbound shipments of the models reached 788 units last year.

The country, which had just nine charging stations for hydrogen-powered cars in 2016, finished installations of 34 stations last year. It plans to add at least dozens more in 2020 to have 310 units by end-2022.