June 28, 2022

The Hyundai Motors emblem on a steering wheel on show on the firm’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on March 22, 2019.KIM HONG-JI/Reuters

In the case of slowing local weather change, hydrogen is elemental, Hyundai says.

“I’m right here to inform you that hydrogen is a strong resolution to combatting local weather change,” mentioned Hyundai chairman Euisun Chung in a web based press briefing. “Our aim is to have hydrogen utilized by everybody, for every part, all over the place by 2040.”

Inside 20 years, hydrogen gas cells (HFC) – which use a chemical response to show hydrogen and air into electrical energy and water – might energy public transit, highway, rail and marine freight, and even buildings and whole neighbourhoods, Hyundai mentioned.

Whereas corporations together with Hyundai, Honda and Toyota construct hydrogen gas cells now, the auto trade has largely been centered on battery know-how.

During the last fifteen years, gas cells have confronted roadblocks, together with restricted manufacturing of inexperienced hydrogen that’s not a by-product of fossil fuels, the dearth of hydrogen fuelling stations and the price of gas cell know-how.

Lastly hydrogen’s time?

However all that’s on the cusp of adjusting, mentioned Saehoon Kim, Hyundai government vice-president and head of the gas cell centre.

Proper now, Hyundai makes use of gas cells to energy its zero-emissions Nexo SUV, which launched in 2018, and XCEINT industrial vehicles.

There are 45 XCEINT vehicles working in Switzerland. They cowl about 210,000 km and save about 130 tons of CO2 each month, Hyundai mentioned. To date, there aren’t any plans to promote them in Canada.

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That mentioned, gross sales of HFC passenger autos are nonetheless a fraction of complete EV gross sales. Though the corporate mentioned it offered 4,700 Nexos worldwide between January and June of this 12 months, it has solely offered 15 in Canada since 2018.

In 2023, the corporate plans to introduce next-generation hydrogen gas cells that are 30 per cent smaller, 50 per cent cheaper and twice as highly effective than its cells now.

By 2028, it should provide fuel-cell variations of all its industrial autos. Whereas Hyundai will nonetheless promote diesel- and gas-powered variations, it gained’t be introducing new fashions with combustion engines, Hyundai mentioned.

By 2030, gas cell know-how ought to price about the identical as battery know-how, Hyundai mentioned.

“We all know prices will come down with economic system of scale [as we build more],” mentioned Saehoon Kim, Hyundai government vice-president and head of the gas cell centre. “We have to save prices in manufacturing – I believe we’ve been utilizing batteries for a very long time, [so] on gas cells we nonetheless have work to do.”

Why hydrogen?

Whereas the auto trade has largely been centered on battery know-how, Hyundai mentioned batteries alone gained’t assist scale back carbon dioxide emissions from transportation – which contributes to a couple of quarter of world CO2 emissions.

“We all know each [batteries and hydrogen] will likely be wanted sooner or later in very completely different situations,” Kim mentioned. “We don’t know what boundaries we’ll face, so we should be ready for every vitality.”

Why can’t we simply stick to batteries for every part? Batteries add dimension and weight to autos and so they take time to recharge.

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They make sense for passenger autos, however not for industrial transportation – the place slicing weight, having area for cargo and saving time are all essential.

A hydrogen gas cell truck may be refilled in about the identical time as a diesel-powered truck and gives related vary – with out the majority of an enormous battery.

Like batteries, hydrogen additionally gives the flexibility to retailer electrical energy and use it later. Extra renewable vitality from photo voltaic or wind energy might be became hydrogen by means of electrolysis – after which saved or exported.

“Nomads protect milk as cheese and use it over winter,” Kim mentioned. “Electrical energy is like milk – hydrogen will play an identical position to cheese.”

Nonetheless, adoption, analysis and improvement of gas cell know-how is 10 to fifteen years behind battery know-how, however Hyundai thinks it will probably catch up, particularly if its embraced by the huge Chinese language market

“We began late in comparison with batteries,” Kim mentioned. “However I believe China has the facility to do this sooner.”

Hydrogen gas cells have purposes past autos, Kim mentioned. As an illustration, banks of them might energy buildings and neighbourhoods.

Hyundai additionally revealed three hydrogen-powered ideas – a robotic tractor trailer, a robotic rescue automobile for fires and evacuations and a hydrogen-powered hybrid race automobile.

Whereas they’re sooner to refuel and lighter, gas cells nonetheless can’t beat battery electrical autos for sports activities efficiency, mentioned Albert Biermann, head of analysis and improvement for Hyundai and Kia.

“It is a good train to compete in racing and drive the event ahead,” Biermann mentioned.

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One dimension gained’t match all?

Batteries and gas cells shouldn’t be seen as rivals, Biermann mentioned. They’ll each be wanted, relying available on the market, Biermann mentioned.

“All of it will depend on the regional state of affairs and the supply of hydrogen,” Biermann mentioned.

In a briefing on battery know-how final week, Toyota, which additionally sells gas cell autos, mentioned its future technique will fluctuate by what shoppers are in search of in every nation and the assets out there there.

As an illustration, in Europe, the place extra folks drive smaller automobiles, there’s already a powerful push towards BEVs and so they’ll probably improve. However North American shoppers want massive vehicles and SUVs with a giant towing capability, so BEVs is probably not possible.

“For instance, in Brazil, biofuels have been utilized and has already been commercialized,” mentioned Masahiko Maeda, Toyota’s chief know-how officer. “So [to be] carbon-neutral, we have to have a look at the vitality state of affairs of every area.”

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