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04/10/2017 HYU News > Academics Important News


For the Future of Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Most efficient algorithm designed for the refueling station


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It is a well-known fact that carbon-based vehicles are one of the main factors for causing problems that threatens environmental security such as climate change. It was an impediment task to develop Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) to reduce the amount of fossil fuel for the upcoming future. However, while the introduction of such eco-friendly transportation system has drawn a lot of attention, it has failed to become as widespread as it was expected to be. Professor Jeong In-jae of the Department of Industrial Engineering pointed out that it is mainly because of the serious lack of AFV’s refueling stations, which could be either electricity recharging stations or hydrogen stations. From his recent article “An optimal approach for a set covering version of the refueling-station location problem and its application to a diffusion model”, Jeong suggested the desirable algorithm example to build the most efficient number of refueling station to reduce the investment costs needed to develop refueling infrastructure.
Jeong said increasing the number of refueling stations is the first task to motivate AFV industry.

“It is like a vicious cycle,” said Jeong. A lot of people are being hesitant to change their conventional carbon-based vehicles to AFV because there is no sound infrastructure to support AFV. Thus, possible manufacturers of refueling stations also become hesitant to build more as there are no sufficient demand. “Everybody agrees with the impediment need for more spread of AFVs, but there are obvious vicious cycle which disturbs it. It is necessary for the government to step in the market,” said Jeong.
To first initiate the growth of the market of both AFV and its refueling station, it is necessary to make initial investment possible, which is the problem of finance. To minimize the needed expense, Jeong assumed two situations to suggest different algorithms respectively. The difference between two situation lies whether there is or no existing refueling station as the math would be different between the two. The aim of the algorithm was same tough, to make the less stations for the greater effect.
“I started to gain interest on the subject about 7 years ago. I had a chance to meet some the professors in the United States who had a same interest about AFVs. Thought that it is the subject which perfectly meets what is actually needed in the current society,” said Jeong. He also added how it is hard to know what kind of AFV will lead the future automobile industry is still yet to be clear, it is very important to prepare it beforehand. “It is hard to say that electric cars are the ones which is most eco-friendly as electricity still is an energy that is made from fossil fuels. Hydrogen cars are better in such aspect. But we don’t know the future so we have to have a theory and policy regarding both of them beforehand,” said Jeong.
An example of a refueling station for electric cars. (Photo courtesy of bizwatch)

While it is agreed by many that the research and development of AFVs main infrastructure should be more progressed and encouraged, Jeong said it is unfortunate to witness how the Korean government is merely trying to take care of matters as they come, which can lead to serious waste of the government budget.
Still, regarding the topic, Jeong is now preparing to write another paper. If this paper was about how to calculate the most efficient number of stations, the next subject for his research is to calculate the most desirable driving route for an AFV. “Compared to carbon-based vehicles where stations are now practically easy-to-find and access, AFVs have a limited vehicle range. It can be different by company to company but the average distance is 130km when the car is fully charged. However, considering the fact that there are still less stations and cars have to recharge during its route, the efficient route of AFV is drastically different from that of carbon-based vehicles,” explained Jeong.
Although Jeong had to work on all research by himself, he said it is still a big pleasure for him to work as a ‘researcher’. “When a lot of professors reach into years of careers, they become more of a ‘manager’ than a ‘researcher’. Instead of being involved in a research, they became a manager who direct and instruct his or her fellow researchers of graduate students. However, I thought that I’d want to remain as a researcher which led me to spare more time on my own research. It is tough and hard to do, but I want to keep my identity as a scholar as long as I can.”
As a researcher, Jeong will continue on devoting his passion.

Yun Ji-hyun
Photos by Choi Min-ju
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