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Hydrogen tie-up

Hyundai, SK in hydrogen tie-up as part of $38 bn industry cooperation

Mar 02, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun (right) and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won shake hands after signing an MOU on hydrogen projects. 
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun (right) and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won shake hands after signing an MOU on hydrogen projects. 

South Korea’s auto giant Hyundai Motor Group and energy conglomerate SK Group have agreed to tie up in hydrogen-related projects as part of an industrywide 43 trillion won ($38 billion) investment in the hydrogen economy.

Hyundai Motor Co., the country’s top automaker, said on Mar. 2 that the two companies will also work together with steel giant POSCO to set up the K-Hydrogen Council, a group of chief executives at major companies, in the first half to seek joint hydrogen business opportunities and achieve carbon neutrality.

“Through this cooperation, we are aiming to establish a healthy hydrogen ecosystem, which will contribute to achieving carbon neutrality among Korean companies,” Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun said after signing a memorandum of understanding with SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won. "Hydrogen is not just a source of energy. It will work as an energy currency in the era of carbon neutrality."

As part of the alliance, SK Group will gradually replace commercial vehicles running at its affiliates’ plants with 1,500 Hyundai hydrogen trucks. Hyundai Motor will provide SK with hydrogen cargo trucks from 2022 and hydrogen-fueled tractors from 2024.

The two groups will also cooperate in the establishment of hydrogen filling stations and electric car charging stations across the country.

INDUSTRYWIDE HYDROGEN COOPERATION

The Hyundai-SK alliance is part of broader industry cooperation, under which the nation’s five conglomerates will invest a combined 43 trillion won in hydrogen-related projects by 2030.

Under the plan announced earlier Tuesday, Hyundai Motor Group will inject 11.1 trillion won in the development of hydrogen cars and hydrogen fuel cells.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun (center) and heads of big conglomerates pose for a photo after signing an MOU on hydrogen cooperation.
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun (center) and heads of big conglomerates pose for a photo after signing an MOU on hydrogen cooperation.

SK Group said it will invest 18.5 trillion won to develop fuel cell power generation plants and hydrogen liquefaction facilities. POSCO, Hanwha and Hyosung also said they will spend 10 trillion won, 1.3 trillion won and 1.2 trillion won, respectively, on hydrogen-related projects.

SK Group said in a statement that it aims to create 209,000 new hydrogen-related jobs through its 18.5 trillion won investment by 2025. The group said it will operate 100 hydrogen filling stations across the country by 2025.

In a related move, the government said it has earmarked 824.4 billion won in its 2021 budget to support corporate efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.

HYUNDAI'S FIRST OVERSEAS HYDROGEN SYSTEM PLANT

Hyundai Motor said earlier Tuesday that the company has broken ground on the construction of its first overseas hydrogen fuel cell systems plant in China.

The construction of the plant, located in China’s southern city of Guangzhou, will be completed in the second half of 2022, it said.

A bird's eye view of Hyundai's envisioned HTWO Guangzhou hydrogen fuel cell systems plant
A bird's eye view of Hyundai's envisioned HTWO Guangzhou hydrogen fuel cell systems plant
Once completed, the plant will produce 6,500 fuel cell systems for hydrogen-powered vehicles annually and gradually increase output volumes depending on market demand.

Under Hyundai’s mid- to long-term fuel cell roadmap unveiled in 2018, the company aims to produce 500,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles and 700,000 fuel cell systems by 2030 to solidify its leadership in the global hydrogen vehicle market.

As part of such efforts, the automaker last year launched a new brand, HTWO, dedicated to its hydrogen fuel cell systems. Hyundai said it will invest 8 trillion won ($7.3 billion) in the fuel cell EV business by 2030 and hire 50,000 workers for the project.

Write to Kim Il-Gue and Byung-Uk Do at Black0419@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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