Through the EU-funded ICP-AGIR programme, the delegates from Almeria visited Incheon from 24-28 October as a reciprocal visit. Since both Incheon and Almeria have expanded their cooperation by involving academic institutions and private companies from each city, the Almeria delegation was able to have fruitful meetings with representatives from universities, research institutes and Incheon local energy companies.
The study visit launched with an official welcoming reception at Incheon City Hall. During official reception, the Director of the International Cooperation Division, Mr. Ki-un Na delivered warm welcoming remarks to the visiting delegates and expressed his wishes that this study visit would be the starting point of a long-term relationship between two cities.
The delegates continued their visit in JH Energy and Incheon Startup Park where they learned about the government-funded solar panel installation projects led by private sector, and heard more about 4th industrial revolution technology, focused on start-up support center operation. From this visit, Almeria delegates also discussed potential cooperation between PITA- Technology Park Almeria and Incheon Startup Park.
The second day of the study visit started with a site visit to SK Incheon Petrochem and Incheon Green Energy which are key stakeholders of Incheon Metropolitan Government’s hydrogen energy strategy. SK Incheon Petrochem is currently constructing a facility which can produce 30,000 tons of liquid hydrogen per year by utilizing by-product hydrogen. This hydrogen energy has 99.998 purity level, and it will be provided to the metropolitan area of Incheon.
Next Incheon and Almeria delegates visited Inha University where the MOU signing ceremony between KIURI Research Center and CIESOL Research Center was conducted. To solidify the partnership between universities and academic institutes in Incheon and Almeria, Dr. Eun-sang Lee, Head of KIURI and Dr. Antonio Romerosa, Professor and researcher in University of Almeria and CIESOL signed the MOU together.
On the last day of the study visit, delegates from Almeria visited the Incheon Free Economic Zone to learn about Smart City Operation system in Incheon. Since Incheon has very advanced technology in data collecting and utilizing the data to operate smart city facilities, Almeria delegates showed great interest in exchanging knowledge in further detail regarding the smart city operations.
Next, the delegates paid their visit to Incheon Fuel Cell Co., Ltd which is a hydrogen fuel cell power plant located in Dong-gu district in Incheon. During the visit, Ms. Jeong Sook Kim, Director of Administration Department of Incheon Fuel Cell co., Ltd. gave a guided tour of the facility and presented the challenges that they experienced with citizens and how they overcame the challenges.
At the later part of the day, Almeria delegates visited Gaehangjang Open Port Area which is a historical district in Incheon. During their visit to Gaehangjang area, the delegates had wonderful opportunity to try on Korean traditional clothing, hanbok, and visit Chinatown to enjoy unique aspects of mixed culture in the city.
To refine the future cooperation plans for Incheon Metropolitan City and Almeria City Council, both cities conducted a Cooperation Action Plan (CAP) session. From the discussion, both cities came up with three solid action plans including research cooperation on sustainable energy, holding hydrogen energy forum with academic institutions and private companies, and cooperation on startup park and smart mobility department. Through these activities, both cities will push forward to establish a long term partnership.
Yookyung Oh is an Operations Officer at CityNet. She is responsible for the overall management of CityNet members and assists fiscally sponsored projects along with the annual audit. Prior to joining CityNet, Yookyung worked at the United States Embassy in Seoul to cultivate civic engagement, cultural understanding and strengthen societal resilience by finding practical approaches to shared regional challenges.