Hyundai Steel goes green by recycling hydrogen

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Hyundai Steel goes green by recycling hydrogen

Hyundai Steel produces 3,500 tons of 99.999 percent-pure hydrogen per year, with plans to further expand its production capacity. [HYUNDAI STEEL]

Hyundai Steel produces 3,500 tons of 99.999 percent-pure hydrogen per year, with plans to further expand its production capacity. [HYUNDAI STEEL]

With the transition to carbon neutrality gaining traction, Hyundai Steel is expanding its hydrogen business in a bid to go green.

In line with Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) vision 2030 of Hyundai Motor Group, Hyundai Steel is recycling by-product hydrogen produced in its steel plant located in Dangjin, South Chungcheong, and supplying the hydrogen to FCEV-related sectors.

By securing a stable supply of hydrogen, the steelmaker plans to play a leading role in the hydrogen economy.

Coke, a material made by heating coal, is needed in order to smelt iron ore in a furnace. During manufacturing and combustion of coke, coke oven gas is created as a by-product. Hydrogen factories are where the coke oven gas consisting of hydrogen, tar, sulfur and benzene turns into 99.999 percent pure hydrogen after being refined, compressed and extracted.

Hyundai Steel started constructing a hydrogen factory back in 2014 and began commercial production in January 2016. The factory has production capacity of 3,500 tons per year, which can fuel 17,000 units of Hyundai Nexo — a hydrogen fuel cell SUV — that can each cover a distance of 20,000 kilometers (12427.4 miles).

Half the hydrogen refined at the Dangjin factory goes to the hydrogen station or the semiconductor factory, while the other half is used in the steel plant.

Hyundai Steel plans to expand its production capacity to tenfold by 2025.

The steelmaker has also been producing metal bipolar plates for hydrogen FCEVs since 2018. Metal bipolar plates are an essential part of hydrogen vehicles as they separate hydrogen and oxygen and lead it to respective electrodes.

Metal bipolar plate manufacturing is the core technology of hydrogen FCEVs, which makes the fact that Hyundai Steel successfully localized the production especially meaningful. Hyundai Steel manufactures the membrane electrode assembly as well, another crucial part of FCEVs.

“Hyundai Steel is actively promoting resource circulation and recycling with a goal of creating an eco-friendly steel mill,” said Ahn Dong-il, CEO of Hyundai Steel. “We will continue to focus on hydrogen production and the sustainable energy sector, and strive to become the global frontrunner as an environmentally-friendly steelmaker.”

By Shin Ha-nee [shin.hanee@joongang.co.kr]
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