Korean auto giant Hyundai has doubled down on hydrogen as its route to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 with an announcement at the start of technology conference CES in Las Vegas that it will offtake three million tonnes of hydrogen by 2035, for use in “logistics”, green steel and power generation.
While the company did not expand on exactly how it would source these vast volumes of H2, the car manufacturer — one of the few to sell fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) — also revealed that it will start to manufacture polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolysers at the megawatt scale, with an eye to sharing components with the fuel cells used in its vehicles.
However, it has only given a vague timeline for commercialisation — “within the next few years”.
While Hyundai noted that PEM technology is currently around 1.5 times the price of alkaline electrolysers, it expects that component sharing will make its equipment cheaper.
“Hyundai’s hydrogen solutions go beyond passenger cars, trucks and buses to include trams, special equipment, vessels, power generators and advanced air mobility,” the automaker stated in a press release. “The company is driving the energy transition as a major hydrogen off-taker.”
Hyundai has also provided an update on its plans to produce hydrogen from biogenic waste, while also reaffirming its ambition to generate H2 from non-recyclable plastics.
The auto giant, which is one of the partners on a 500kg-a-day biogas-to-H2 plant in the South Korean city of Chungju, plans to develop a waste-to-hydrogen pilot in the Indonesian province of West Java, although a specific location is yet to be confirmed.
Similarly, while Hyundai had announced in 2021 that it would spend 400bn won ($303.4m) on a plastics-to-H2 plant in Dangjin, South Korea, which at the time was expected to start operations in the first half of 2024, no details on this project were announced at CES.
Hyundai was also quiet on the upcoming 2024 version of its flagship Nexo FCEV, with no new products in the wider mobility space unveiled.
While the company mentioned that it was involved in several initiatives in the US to roll out its XCIENT fuel-cell trucks, such as deploying them on-site for its “Metaplant” EV manufacturing hub in Georgia and providing 30 units for the NorCAL ZERO project at California’s Port of Oakland, it did not reveal any new products or projects in this region.