SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea needs to further expand the country’s hydrogen charging infrastructure as it lags behind advanced countries amid growing interest in zero-emission vehicles, a business association said Thursday.
South Korea has emerged as a major player in technologies involving hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles and fuel-cell battery-based power generation in recent years.
But the country still is behind developed nations in hydrogen charging stations and the production, storage and transport of the zero-emission fuel, the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) said in a statement.
The country had 34 hydrogen charging stations as of 2019, far lower than Japan’s 112, Germany’s 81 and the United States’ 70, it said.
To gain a share in the burgeoning global hydrogen markets, the FKI said the country will have to build more hydrogen charging stations and invest more in the hydrogen production, storage and transport facilities.
Japan plans to increase the number of hydrogen charging stations to 900 by 2030 from the current 112, while the state of California plans to invest 200 billion won (US$173 million) in the hydrogen charging infrastructure by the same year, the statement said.
In South Korea, 4,194 hydrogen passenger vehicles were sold in 2019, with Hyundai Motor Co. being the country’s sole manufacturer of hydrogen cars.
Hyundai sold 10,698 Nexo hydrogen passenger cars — 8,908 units domestically and 1,790 overseas — in global markets from 2018 through August this year.
Last month, it shipped two Nexos and two Elec City hydrogen buses to Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, in the Middle East, paving the way for further exports of the zero-emission models.
The global hydrogen market is expected to reach 294 trillion won in 2050, accounting for 18 to 20 percent of overall energy consumption, the FKI said, citing data from the Hydrogen Council.
The council expected 400 million hydrogen passenger cars and 20 million hydrogen commercial vehicles on the roads by 2050, which means 2 out of 10 vehicles will be hydrogen powered, the statement said.
The Hydrogen Council was first launched in January 2017 and aims to boost investment in the development and commercialization of the hydrogen and fuel cell sectors.
In January last year, Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun began his co-chairmanship of the council along with Benoit Potier, CEO of the France-based industrial gas supplier Air Liquide S.A.
The council, which started with 13 member companies, now has 28 member companies, including carmakers BMW and Toyota Motor Corp.