Major Korean companies bet big on hydrogen in push to cut emissionsMajor Korean companies in carbon-intensive industries are jacking up investment in hydrogen across sectors to cut their greenhouse emissions and capture new business opportunities in the emerging energy sector.
Hydrogen can offer solutions in fields ranging from transport to energy storage as an alternative to fossil fuels and is an important pillar of President Moon Jae-in's Green New Deal initiative aimed at going carbon neutral by 2050 and developing renewable energy industries.
To embrace the global energy transition, Korean companies in the auto, chemical and steel industries have recently announced hydrogen business road maps to boost demand and foster new growth drivers.
Hyundai Motor Group is on the front of the hydrogen business in the nation with two decades of expertise in developing the hydrogen fuel cell system for vehicles.
Since introducing the ix35 fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in 2013, Hyundai has added the NEXO SUV, the Xcient fuel cell heavy-duty truck and a fuel cell electric bus, leading the market ahead of its Japanese rivals.
FCEVs run on pressurized hydrogen and create electricity by chemically fusing it with oxygen in a fuel stack.
According to SNE Research, Hyundai Motor sold 4,917 FCEVs in the first nine months of this year, accounting for 73.8 percent of the global market.
Hyundai Motor is set to launch a brand dedicated to its fuel cell system, called HTWO, which stands for the hydrogen molecule H2, to target major markets, including Korea, the United States, Europe and China.
SK Group said it plans to produce hydrogen utilizing its energy infrastructure.
SK Holdings, the group's holding firm, set an annual hydrogen production target of 280,000 tons by 2025 to supply it to petrol stations and fuel cell power plants.
Under the plan, SK E&S, the nation's largest private natural gas provider, aims to start supplying 30,000 tons of liquefied hydrogen annually to the Seoul metropolitan area in 2023, using resources from refinery SK Innovation.
SK E&S said it will also begin producing 250,000 tons of "blue" hydrogen per year in 2025 using its imported natural gas, and develop "green" hydrogen technology in the long term.
Posco is also stepping up efforts to expand its hydrogen business and establish supply chains, targeting 5 million tons of annual hydrogen production by 2050.
The company currently produces 7,000 tons of hydrogen per year, mostly using natural gas and byproducts from its power plants.
Posco said it aims to expand the blue hydrogen production capacity to 500,000 tons by 2030 and establish 2 million tons of a green hydrogen production system by 2040.