South Korea has decided to set up a special fund for cooperation with Russia in the field of hydrogen energy, the Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry and senior official of the Arctic Council Nikolai Korchunov told an online briefing on 20 November.

In October, South Korea and Russia agreed to bolster their ties in the hydrogen industry as both countries seek to utilise more environment-friendly resources and break away from traditional fossil fuels. The consensus was reached in a videoconference between Deputy South Korean Trade Minister Park Ki-young and his Russian counterpart, Aleksandr Morozov, according to South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. "There is great potential for cooperation between South Korea and Russia, which can produce economic hydrogen based on Russia's rich natural resources," Park said in a statement.

Korchunov said at the briefing that he had “held consultations with the Director of the Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, who informed me that the Korean government had decided to form a special fund for interaction with Russia in the field of hydrogen energy”.  He added: “And the first such project is expected to be the project Snezhinka (Snowflake) project in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.”

He added that the project is already being developed and based on its results it will be possible to determine the technical conditions and tasks. This should open the way for other international partners top join the project. The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) has prepared a project for the construction of an Arctic station based on carbon-free energy.

In January, Yuri Vasiliev, executive director of the Institute of Arctic Technologies of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, gave a presentation on the Snezhinka project that is scheduled to open in 2022. It is intended to contribute to the creation of a scientific infrastructure in the Arctic.

According to MIPT, the Snowflake International Arctic Station is a fully autonomous year-round diesel-free facility powered by renewable energy sources and hydrogen fuel. It is planned to open during the Russian chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. Snowflake will be “a unique new platform for international cooperation between engineers, researchers, scientists and students working on bold solutions that constitute a basis for life and work in the Arctic”.

The purpose of the facility is to enable Russian and foreign partners to test and demonstrate environmentally friendly life support technologies, new materials, smart home and smart village systems, as well as biotech, medical, robotic and AI-driven solutions.