On the eve of the CES in Las Vegas, the Korean giant has reaffirmed its faith in hydrogen. This is a field in which it intends to invest in its entirety: from production to storage, and not just in its applications for mobility.
Until now, CES has been the preferred venue for showcasing electric vehicles. However, it is a sign of the times that the show is now making room for hydrogen. For Hyundai, the CES is unavoidable. It was here that the Nexo was unveiled in 2018, and it was again in Vegas that Hyundai chose to present its vision for this type of energy. You can watch the conference on YouTube.
As a foreword, Hyundai announced its intention to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and to use 100% renewable electricity in its factories outside Korea by 2045. Hydrogen will play a key role in this roadmap. As you may know, the carmaker is one of the pioneers in the field of cars (ix35 FC, Nexo) and currently holds the largest market share. But its solutions go far beyond that. Through its HTWO brand, Hyundai wants to apply its fuel cell in buses, trucks, boats, flying machines and generators.
Hyundai is positioning across the whole hydrogen value chain
While all this was already common knowledge, the CES announcement marks a new stage. The HTWO structure will now address hydrogen production, storage and transport. In other words, all the phases upstream of use, which carmakers have tended to leave to other manufacturers. The Korean group wants to control the entire chain to be able to accelerate the energy transition. It is even using the term hydrogen society, like Toyota!
To achieve this objective, Hyundai has set the ambitious target of producing 3 million tonnes of hydrogen a year by 2035. This will enable the company to meet the needs of the steel industry, logistics and energy production. Hyundai is even going to start producing electrolysers. During the presentation, “Mr Hydrogen” Chang Hwan Kim revealed that a MW-scale electrolyser was being developed. Hyundai is banking on more competitive PEM technology.
Producing hydrogen from waste
In terms of production, the Korean company is banking on two complementary processes. The first (W2H: waste to hydrogen) consists in the decomposition of organic waste (food, bile, excrement). It is used in Indonesia, for example. The second (P2H: Plastic to hydrogen) involves the gasification of non-recyclable plastics. These are on display on the company’s stand at the CES.
Hyundai is also developing in the United States. For example, it has deployed 30 Xcient FC trucks as part of the NorCAL ZERO project to decarbonise the Port of Oakland. And at its Georgia plant, which will be producing battery-powered electric vehicles, Hyundai will deploy hydrogen-based logistics, again using trucks and infrastructure.
Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King