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Eco-Friendly Hydrogen Has a Wider Range of Applications in the Mobility System


Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) plans to make hydrogen play an important role in future mobility. The first segment would be buses, trains, and fishing vessels.

Hydrogen is becoming a primary energy carrier for wider range of application, from road-transport sector to hydrogen-fueled ships.

Extreme weather events are not just in predictions any longer. We started to realize that we are actually destroying our own home, and that we must stop using fossil fuels, the main culprit of greenhouse effect. Now we are checking the real-time air quality every morning, not just the weather. And this is why we are paying more attention to creating a new eco-friendly energy source as a substitute for fossil fuel.

While many cities are trying to phase out internal combustion engines, hydrogen energy, a promising substitution, is coming up next. Climate condition affects the production of renewable energy such as solar, wind, or hydropower greatly, or sometimes they are simply not suitable for some regions. Intermittency of renewable energy causes unexpected imbalance between energy supply and demand, and hence makes it not controllable. This is where we pay attention to hydrogen fuel cell, which is energy efficient, more suitable for storage and distribution, and emits less CO2.

Leader of Hydrogen Society

Steps Toward a Hydrogen-Driven Society After Hyundai Delivered its Second-generation Fuel Cell SUV, NEXO

HMG held a ceremony last December to build its second fuel-cell system factory in Chungju, South Korea, which will increase fuel-cell system output to 40,000 units annually by 2022. According to its ‘FCEV Vision 2030, HMG aims to produce 500,000 units for FCEVs annually by 2030, and to do so, HMG will invest 7.6 trillion KRW, creating 51,000 jobs.

Also HMG signed MOU as a ‘First Mover’ to establish hydrogen station and plans for hydrogen vehicles such as buses, trains and marine vessels.

Under the MoU, HMG and Gangwon Province, South Korea, Plan to Build a Small-Sized Hydrogen Fueled Ship

HMG signed MoU with Gangwon Province to cooperate on development of a hydrogen fuel-cell system for a 5-ton small-size vessel.

International Hydrogen Forum 2019 was held in Pyeong Chang, Gangwon Province, South Korea on May 9. It mainly focused on making Samcheok, one of the biggest cities in Gangwon Province, become ‘energy self-sufficient hydrogen city’ that produce, store, distribute, and sell hydrogen fuel cell. Gangwon Province signed four different MoUs with private companies, government institutions and non-profit organizations, and under one of them signed by HMG and Gangwon Technopark, the partners plan to build a small-sized hydrogen fueled vessel.

Hydrogen fueled ships sure will make clear sky

This will improve fishermen’s working environment and protect fishing villages from noise and emissions from diesel engines, not to mention it will make all the partners be well prepared for harsher environmental regulations. Under the MoU, Gangwon Province will be responsible for granting licenses required for developing hydrogen vessels, while Hyundai Motor is supplying a hydrogen fuel-cell system, a core component in a hydrogen-powered vessel. Gangwon Technopark will be in charge of manufacturing and testing the vessels.

First Hydrogen Buses on the Street

Hydrogen buses now clean the air while running on roads in the big cities in South Korea

The first hydrogen bus was unveiled at a ceremony marking the 24th Environment Day in Changwon, South Korea, on June 5th.
HMG announced its plan to produce 35 hydrogen-powered electric buses in seven cities including Changwon, Gwangju, Ulsan, Asan, Busan, Seosan, and Seoul, and to supply more than 300 hydrogen buses annually, starting next year.

Last November, Seoul tested its hydrogen-powered city bus, with the friendly character Tayo printing.

HMG has been developing hydrogen-powered bus since 2006, and succeeded in test drive during Germany World Cup. Then HMG unveiled the third-generation hydrogen bus with a pilot program in Seoul and Ulsan in 2018 October and November respectively, to prove its value. 
This is followed by the launch of official regular-route buses in Changwon this year.

Main components of Hydrogen Bus

Hydrogen bus optimized its space utilization and weight distribution of the components.

The eco-friendliness of hydrogen vehicles that help purify air becomes much more considerable, when they are produced as buses. A hydrogen-powered bus can filter the air for 76 adults per one hour, whereas Hyundai Nexo does the same for 42.6 adults. It can purify 4.863 kg of the air while driving one kilometer, meaning it would significantly improve the air quality, given the fact that it never stops running during the daytime. The third-generation hydrogen-powered bus that takes up to 45 passengers, can cover 450 kilometers in a single charge and drive 13.5 kilometers per kg of hydrogen.

System costs of battery vs. hydrogen. The cost advantages of hydrogen grow as the range and power requirement of trucks increase.

Now, let’s talk about trucks. Though battery-powered trucks are as efficient as hydrogen-powered ones, the cost advantages of hydrogen become clear for applications focused on cargo transport.
Because long-haul trucks should be able to travel long ranges, short charging time and the high energy density of on-board hydrogen storage make hydrogen fuel cell systems ideal for powering larger, heavier modes of transport, not to mention marine vessels or buses.
According to the Mckinsey report <Hydrogen Meets Digital>, Fuel cells become more cost efficient than batteries as soon as the energy capacity exceeds around 210 kW or converted to range, about 100 kilometers.

Hyundai Rotem and Hyundai Motor Company to Develop Hydrogen Train by 2020

Hyundai Rotem announced that it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate with Hyundai Motor Company in the development of hydrogen electric trains by 2020

Hydrogen marine vessels and hydrogen busses were followed by hydrogen trains. Through this MoU signed on June 10th, Hyundai Motor Company will supply hydrogen fuel cells for technology development and support related technologies, and Hyundai Rotem will develop and verify system interfaces between hydrogen fuel cells and vehicles, along with the production of hydrogen electric trains.

Hydrogen electric trains are eco-friendly vehicles that do not emit pollutants other than water. They do not require electric power supply facilities such as electric cables and substations, which can save electricity infrastructure construction and maintenance costs.

UCS(Union of Concerned Scientists) and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, South Korea analyzed that hydrogen-powered train emits 9.8kg of CO2 per one kilometer, whereas a diesel train emits 19kg of CO2 per one kilometer, indicating hydrogen trains produce 51.9% less CO2 than diesel trains.

Hyundai Rotem showed prototype of hydrogen electric trains at Busan International Railway Technology Industry Fair

Hyundai Rotem has been developing this train since January this year. It is designed as a low-profile tram-type platform and aims to travel at a maximum speed of 70km / h and a maximum travel distance of 200km / h. Hyundai Rotem showed prototype of hydrogen electric trains at Busan International Railway Technology Industry Fair held in BEXCO, Busan, South Korea, from June 12th to 15th.

Hyundai X the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
– More Infrastructures for Hydrogen Mobility

South Korea opened its first hydrogen station along highway in April, and plans to have more.

Since the number of hydrogen vehicles is growing further, a comprehensive infrastructure including charging facilities is a fundamental requirement for successful electric mobility.

Hyundai and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport established the hydrogen fueling station at Anseong Rest Area (Seoul and Busan ward respectively).
The station, which conjures up visions of elegant design, can fill into car 25kg/h which can fuel more than 5 cars per hour. The station is opened from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m..

The first commercial hydrogen fuel cell charging station in Seoul, South Korea, is about to open right in front of the National Assembly building.

Hyundai Motor Company and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in South Korea announced the plan to build 86 hydrogen fueling stations this year, 310 stations by 2022, and 1200 stations by 2040 across the country.

Why Hydrogen Mobility?

Hyundai Motor Group established fuel cell manufacturing factory in Chungju, South Korea, to be one step closer to hydrogen society.

Hydrogen Council, a consultative body of global business leaders to promote alternative energy use, was established at Davos Switzerland Economic Forum 2017. And after Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun became the co-chairman of the Hydrogen Council earlier this year, Hyundai launched its second-generation commercialized FCEV Nexo, and announced ‘FCEV Vision 2030’ roadmap.

The potential for hydrogen could amount to a total of some 5.5 million to 6.5 million fuel cells in use by 2030. Hydrogen market growth is expected to be $ 2.5 trillion by 2050, and Korean FCEV annual sales $2.5 trillion. Euisun Chung, said “About 99 percent of parts used in FCEVs are sourced within the country, so the business will send a ripple effect among related sectors. In joint investment with partner companies, we will form the foundation for a new growth engine in the auto industry,”

Hydrogen fuel cells will expand its usage even further.
As described in ‘FCEV Vision 2030’, Hyundai Motor Group announced the plan to be capable of supplying 200,000 units of fuel cell systems annually for vessels, trains, and forklifts, etc. To do so, Hyundai will cooperate with the government and other companies.

Global action is needed to deal with global warming and serious air pollution, and FCEV will become a key player. Clear sky is about to come back one step closer.