SEOUL, June 10 (Korea Bizwire) — The heads of South Korea’s four major conglomerates met Thursday to discuss ways to set up a consultative body on hydrogen in a move that underscored their commitment to fostering the clean energy source.
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun met with SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, POSCO Chairman Choi Jeong-woo and Hyosung Chairman Cho Hyun-joon at the automaker’s Namyang Research & Development Center in Hwaseong, about 40 kilometers south of Seoul, according to Hyundai Motor.
They will launch the consultative body in September after finalizing participating companies.
The consultative body — which is meant to encourage corporate investments and expand the hydrogen industry’s value chain — will later become the Korean version of the Hydrogen Council, a global coalition of CEOs committed to expediting the energy transition with hydrogen, according to Hyundai Motor.
Hydrogen is an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels as automobiles running on the resource only create water in the process of generating power. It can be produced as a by-product of industrial facilities, including petrochemical plants as well.
The move comes as South Korea is pushing to boost the supply of power from clean and renewable energy sources while weaning the country off nuclear and coal-fired plants.
South Korea has also vowed to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2050, which means effectively reducing carbon emissions to zero.
South Korea’s five major conglomerates — SK, Hyundai Motor, POSCO, Hanwha and Hyosung — announced in March that they plan to invest 43 trillion won (US$38.2 billion) in building a wide range of hydrogen infrastructure, such as production and storage of hydrogen by 2030.
Hyundai Motor Group has said it will inject 11.1 trillion won for the research and development projects linked to hydrogen cars, while installing more charging stations.
SK Group, which has SK Innovation Co. under its wing, plans to invest 18.5 trillion won to establish facilities that can create up to 30,000 tons of hydrogen annually.
Hyundai Motor has also said the company and SK Group will discuss ways to install hydrogen fuel cell chargers and fast electric vehicle chargers at SK gas stations across the country.
POSCO has said it will spend 10 trillion won to venture into methods to harness hydrogen instead of coal during its production of steel.