Korean companies invest big in Hydrogen with view of reaching zero-emission target

To reduce greenhouse gasses and capture new business opportunities, major companies across South Korea are expanding their investment into the hydrogen industry.

Hydrogen and other renewable energy sources play a vital role in President Moon Jae-in’s Green New Deal initiative, which outlines the nation’s target to become carbon-neutral by the year 2050.

To capitalise on this transition, Korean companies across the automotive, chemical and steel industries have published hydrogen business road maps, with the hope of boosting demand and fostering new growth drivers.

At the forefront of the country’s hydrogen movement is the Hyundai  Motor Group, who recently added the NEXO SUV, the XCIENT heavy-duty truck and a fuel cell bus to their product range.

According to SNE research, over the first nine months of this year, Hyundai sold 4,917 fuel cell electric vehicles, which accounted for 73.8 per cent of the global market.

To expand the application of its fuel cell system, Hyundai recently announced its plan to launch a company solely dedicated to developing the hydrogen industry. The brand, called HTWO, will target the major markets of South Korea, the United States, Europe, and China.

“The company will accelerate its hydrogen ecosystem initiative by upgrading fuel cell system technology and expanding fuel cell business beyond the development of fuel cell vehicles,” the company said at the 2020 CEO Investor Day forum last week.

“The company plans to expand the application of its fuel cell system in all transportation areas, such as ships, trains, forklifts and urban air mobility.”

Further to Hyundai, South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, the SK Group, plans to produce hydrogen using its energy infrastructure.

The groups holding firm, SK Holdings, has set an annual hydrogen production target of 280,000 tonnes by 2025, which will be used in their petrol stations and fuel-cell power plants.

“The group’s investment in the hydrogen industry means that SK’s portfolio is shifting toward the eco-friendly business,” an SK Holdings official said. “We will utilise the energy business infrastructure to create a hydrogen ecosystem to tap into the global market.”

Steelmaking company, POSCO, is also boosting efforts to expand its hydrogen business, with an annual target of 5 million tonnes by 2025. The company currently produces 7,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year, using predominately natural gas and byproducts from its powerplants.

“We will take a leading role in producing and supplying hydrogen, the key of the next-generation clean energy,” POSCO CEO Choi Jeong-woo said. “POSCO will contribute to the hydrogen ecosystem in line with the nation’s net-zero carbon goal.

Experts have commented on the situation, saying that in order to produce hydrogen at a scale large enough to achieve the nations zero-emissions target, both the companies and government of South Korea will need to work together.

Source: Intellasia | Korean companies bet big on hydrogen for zero-emission goal

18 December 2020

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