Hyundai Motor Group’s Vision for Hydrogen: Hydrogen Infrastructure That Constitutes a Hydrogen Society

By May 13, 2021 9   min read  (1499 words)

May 13, 2021 |

Fuel cells works, hydrogen, Hyundai Motor

We look at the activities of Hyundai Motor Group, which is building infrastructure for hydrogen production, transportation, and supply, which are essential elements for realizing an eco-friendly hydrogen society.

With the advent of hydrogen-electric vehicles and the development of fuel cells that generate electricity using hydrogen as fuel, we have taken a step closer to an eco-friendly hydrogen society. The technical foundation for using hydrogen as the main energy source was laid. Then, what is needed for hydrogen energy to completely melt into our lives? It is necessary to build an infrastructure that will increase access to hydrogen energy.

The Hyundai Motor Group, which produced the world’s first hydrogen-electric vehicle, is actively investing in hydrogen infrastructure as well as developing hydrogen-electric vehicles and fuel cells and building mass production systems. In order to realize a hydrogen society, we will look at the activities of Hyundai Motor Group, which is striving to build infrastructure in various fields from production to transportation and supply.

Hyundai Motor Group building hydrogen production facilities

One of the most important tasks in a hydrogen society powered by hydrogen energy is to supply hydrogen without a shortage. As is commonly known, hydrogen is the most common material in the universe, but pure hydrogen for energy does not exist in its natural state on Earth. In other words, in order to utilize hydrogen energy, it is necessary to extract pure hydrogen from organic compounds such as water, gasoline, natural gas, propane, and methanol.

There are many different ways of producing hydrogen. Among them, the most economical way to produce hydrogen is to extract hydrogen from natural gas. In order for the hydrogen infrastructure to establish itself quickly, it must be economically competitive, and for this, hydrogen production facilities through natural gas reforming must be preemptively equipped.

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Hyundai Rotem’s Susoriformer Manufacturing Plant

Hyundai Rotem built a Susoriformer manufacturing plant on the site of the Uiwang Research Center last year. Susoriformer is a device that extracts hydrogen from natural gas and is an essential device for the smooth supply of hydrogen in the early stages of entering the hydrogen society. The factory built by Hyundai Rotem has the ability to produce 20 Susori formers per year. The amount of hydrogen produced by 20 Susori formers is about 4,700 tons per year, which is a scale that can fill up to 850,000 fuels of hydrogen-electric vehicles (based on Nexo).

Hydrogen infrastructure that constitutes a hydrogen society

Hydrogen is divided into three types depending on whether or not greenhouse gases are generated during the production process. Hydrogen extracted from fossil fuels such as natural gas is gray hydrogen’, while carbon dioxide generated in the hydrogen production process is captured to control greenhouse gas emissions, and the produced hydrogen is ‘blue hydrogen’, and water is supplied with electric energy from renewable energy. Hydrogen produced by electrolysis is classified as ‘green hydrogen’.

In order to quickly build a hydrogen production infrastructure, it is important to supply reformed hydrogen production facilities with excellent economic efficiency, but from a long-term perspective, it is also important to build eco-friendly hydrogen production facilities, which are the main purpose of using hydrogen energy.

Hydrogen infrastructure that constitutes a hydrogen society

The Hyundai Motor Group continues its efforts to produce not only economically efficient hydrogen but also green hydrogen that does not emit greenhouse gases. The representative activity is ‘Joint Research for Commercialization of Green Hydrogen Value Chain’. This study was conducted by 8 organizations and companies, including Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Engineering, Hyundai Motor Securities, Saemangeum Development Agency, Saemangeum Development Corporation, LG Electronics, Korea Western Power, and Hydrogen Energen. This is a project to verify the feasibility of a green hydrogen business that links renewable energy such as batteries and the use of hydrogen. The main of the business is to establish a power generation facility in the Saemangeum area with photovoltaic modules and energy storage systems and to build a value chain that produces hydrogen from the generated power and supplies it to hydrogen demanders or sends it to fuel cells to supply electric energy to the places where it is needed. This is the goal. In particular, the’polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEMFC)’ power generation system scheduled to be supplied by Hyundai Motor Company has the advantage of being able to start and stop immediately and to change the output quickly, and in connection with water electrolysis, it can compensate for the intermittentness and volatility of solar power generation. It is expected to contribute to the diffusion of renewable energy and hydrogen energy in the future.

Hydrogen infrastructure that constitutes a hydrogen society

As interest in hydrogen society grows around the world, it is the hydrogen transportation infrastructure that major countries pay as much attention as hydrogen production facilities. The hydrogen transport technology is not only essential to safely transport the hydrogen produced, it is very important in that it can lower the price of hydrogen supply by optimizing the supply network. In the case of Korea, while leading the global industry in the field of hydrogen utilization such as hydrogen electric vehicles and fuel cell power generation, it is still in the development stage in the areas of production, transportation, and supply.

Accordingly, Hyundai Glovis has been building a systematic hydrogen supply network from the first half of this year in cooperation with Hynet (HyNet, Hydrogen Energy Network Co., Ltd.), Hyundai Steel, Hyundai Motors, Korea Gas Corporation, and SPG. This is a business that supplies hydrogen produced at Hyundai Steelworks in Dangjin to hydrogen charging stations located in the metropolitan and Chungcheong areas, and Hyundai Glovis plans to introduce a tube trailer, a special transport vehicle for hydrogen. The vehicle can carry up to 340 kg of hydrogen at a time.

Currently, domestic hydrogen transportation does not have an integrated system, so information at each stage such as hydrogen production, transportation, and consumption is not linked, so hydrogen supply is not smooth, which incurs unnecessary transportation costs. Hyundai Glovis plans to accelerate the creation of a hydrogen ecosystem by leading the efficiency of the domestic hydrogen transportation market using the ‘Hydrogen Supply Chain Management Optimization Platform’, which is being developed in-house.

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In order to establish a global hydrogen supply network as well as to establish a domestic hydrogen supply network, Hyundai Glovis cooperated with a domestic shipbuilder to develop a large-sized liquefied hydrogen carrier. In order to transport large amounts of hydrogen to ships along ocean routes, a liquefaction process that reduces volume and increases stability is essential. Liquefied hydrogen has a volume of 1/800 compared to hydrogen gas, making storage and transportation much easier and more economical. By participating as a shipping company in the joint development of hydrogen carriers, Hyundai Glovis directly verifies the economics and safety of hydrogen transportation, accumulates know-how, and plans to secure competitiveness in hydrogen maritime transportation in the future.

Hydrogen charging station connecting hydrogen energy and consumers

The hydrogen charging station that supplies hydrogen to hydrogen-electric vehicles can be said to be the core of the hydrogen infrastructure with the abbreviated hydrogen storage and transportation technology. In that it can be operated when hydrogen storage technology and hydrogen transportation network are in place, it can be evaluated that the more hydrogen charging stations in the country, the closer it is to the hydrogen society. Since it is a facility where consumers directly use hydrogen energy, it is also an important infrastructure that will increase the affinity for hydrogen energy and change the perception of hydrogen.

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‘H Station’ built by Hyundai Motors Hyundai Motor, which mass-produces hydrogen-electric vehicles for the first time in the world, and is leading the development and distribution of various hydrogen mobility such as hydrogen buses and hydrogen trucks, has built hydrogen charging stations in city centers and highways to build a hydrogen ecosystem as well as to popularize hydrogen-electric vehicles. We are also actively conducting activities for our customers. ‘H Station’, a hydrogen charging station built by Hyundai Motor Company, opened in Anseong service area in April 2019, and started at 9 locations nationwide, including Yeoju, Haman, Hanam, Yeouido, Gangdong, Busan, Incheon, and Wanju (hydrogen commercial vehicle specialized charging stations). This is in operation. Hyundai Motor Company is also supporting the supply of hydrogen charging stations by investing in Hinet, which is taking the lead in building hydrogen charging stations and aims to build 100 hydrogen charging stations by 2022 in cooperation with the government.

As such, Hyundai Motor Group is making efforts to establish a stable hydrogen infrastructure from hydrogen production to transportation and supply, as well as hydrogen mobility. This is because building a hydrogen infrastructure is a prerequisite for entering a hydrogen society. This is why countries around the world, including Korea, as well as the United States, Europe, Japan, and China, who want to take the lead in hydrogen society, are accelerating to build hydrogen infrastructure. We look forward to the establishment of a hydrogen society, a truly eco-friendly world without carbon emissions.

Source: Hyundai

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