Big Biz forms hydrogen council
A group of big Korean business groups are banding together to promote the transition to hydrogen-based energy, pledging a combined 43 trillion won ($36.9 billion) of investment to make it happen.
Led by Hyundai Motor Group, Posco and SK, a council called the Korea H2 Business Summit will have 15 member companies including Hyosung, Lotte, Hanwha, Samsung C&T, Doosan, Kolon and Hyundai Heavy Industries Group. Smaller parties include chemical-focused Isu Group, Iljin, a car parts supplier, E1, an energy affiliate of LS, and Korea Zinc.
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung expressed his hope that the council will act as a primary communication channel among companies, the government and investors.
“I expect that the council will find its place as an enhancer of connecting industry, finance and policy, which in turn will enhance the competitiveness of the hydrogen industry,” Chung said during an exhibition designed to celebrate the launch of the council.
Other chairmen of big business groups including SK’s Chey Tae-won, Posco’s Choi Jeong-woo and Lotte's Shin Dong-bin attended the event.
Chung, Chey, Choi and Hyosung Chairman Cho Hyun-joon gathered in June to discuss details about the formation of the council.
It is supposed to be the Korean equivalent of the Hydrogen Council, a global lobbying group with 109 member companies from more than 20 countries. Launched in 2017, that council encourages investments, holds forums and releases reports to promote the clean source of energy.
Likewise, the Korea H2 Business Summit will help its member companies cooperate on hydrogen development and attract partnerships and investment from overseas.
The council will be a focal point for pooling ideas and executing hydrogen-based projects in which some of each promised investment of 43.4 trillion won will be used.
“Hyundai Motor, SK, Posco, Hanwha and Hyosung decided to invest 43.4 trillion won by 2030 into production, distribution, storage and deployment of hydrogen,” said Deloitte Consulting in a statement. The firm was appointed to run managerial and promotional activities for the council.
“The launch of Korea H2 Business Summit will help bring the hydrogen-oriented economy closer to reality,” it said.
SK Inc. shelled out the most, 18.5 trillion won, as first announced in March. In the first phase, 500 billion won of its investment will go to establishing a hydrogen-based fuel cell power plant by 2023 in Incheon, followed by a second phase that will set up a more environmentally friendly manufacturing site to extract hydrogen by 2025 in Boryeong.
In March, Hyundai Motor Group committed 11.1 trillion won to developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and batteries.
The group announced Tuesday that all new Hyundai Motor and Kia commercial vehicles such as buses and heavy duty trucks will be fuel cell and battery-driven electric vehicles (EVs).
Posco pledged 10 trillion won to develop a hydrogen reduction system to produce steel with the clean energy.
The company also wants to increase the production of hydrogen gas - generated from steel production - to generate electricity for its steel manufacturing. It aims to produce up to five million tons of hydrogen by 2050.
Hanwha announced an investment of 1.3 trillion won for producing hydrogen energy though a process sourced from renewable energy while Hyosung’s investment pledge was set at 1.2 trillion won.
Hyundai Heavy Industries also announced on Wednesday that it signed a partnership with Austria-based AVL to develop hydrogen fuel cells for ships.
SK Chairmen Chey, however, noted on Wednesday that those amounts won’t be sufficient to make hydrogen a main fuel and suggested member companies form separate investment funds.
“A large-scale investment is essential to spearhead an era of a hydrogen economy,” said Chey during Wednesday's event.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [email@example.com]