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Hyosung Chairman Hyun-Joon Cho has begun to activate the hydrogen economy by preparing to construct the world’s largest liquid hydrogen factory following a large-scale investment in carbon fiber last year.
Hyosung joined hands with the Linde Group, a global chemical company specializing in industrial gas, to establish a value chain encompassing the production and transportation of liquid hydrogen and installation and operation of charging stations by investing KRW 300 billion in all by 2022. For this purpose, an MOU was signed by Hyosung Chairman Hyun-Joon Cho and Linde Korea Chairman Baek-Seok Seong on April 28 at the head office of Hyosung in Mapo, Seoul.
□ To expand charging infrastructure by constructing a liquid hydrogen factory with annual production capacity of 13,000 tons in Yongyeon by 2022
As a start, the two companies will build a liquid hydrogen factory on a 30,000㎡ (about 10,000 pyeong)-plus site in the premises of the Ulsan Yongyeon factory of the Hyosung Group by investing KRW 150 billion. The factory will be the largest in the world as a single plant with annual production capacity of 13,000 tons (enough to fuel 100,000 passenger cars). A joint venture will be established by the end of this year to begin construction of the factory during the first quarter of the following year and complete the factory in 2022.
The new factory will produce liquid hydrogen by applying the hydrogen liquefaction technology and equipment of the Linde Group to the byproduct hydrogen produced in the Yongyeon factory of Hyosung Chemical. The Linde Group has the best production technology in liquefying high-pressure hydrogen gas.
The produced liquid hydrogen can be used not only for cars but also in various mobility areas including drone, vessel, and forklift. As such, it can contribute to the development of related industries.
Once the factory is completed, the two companies will invest an additional KRW 150 billion to establish liquid hydrogen charging infrastructure. For the supply of liquid hydrogen, the two companies agreed to develop a cooperative partnership by expanding hydrogen stations to more than 120 (50 new stations, increasing the charging capacity of 70 stations) in major bases in the nation.
Hyosung Heavy Industries advanced into the CNG charging system business in 2000, expanding hydrogen charging stations since 2008. Currently, the company has built 15 hydrogen stations nationwide, accounting for 40% of the market share as the No. 1 in the nation.
According to Chairman Baek-Seok Seong of Linde Korea, the Linde Group has produced liquid hydrogen in the US and Europe for 30 years and developed various applications including liquid hydrogen station in the mobility area. “We look forward to a significant synergy effect by combining the advanced technology of Linde with Hyosung’s experience accumulated for a long time in Korea,” he said.
□ Chairman Hyun-Joon Cho: “Our investment will play a huge role in the development of the liquid hydrogen business and activation of the hydrogen industry.”
On this day, Chairman Hyun-Joon Cho said that hydrogen has unlimited potential as an environment-friendly energy that can change the existing economic structure centering on carbon. The core of the liquid hydrogen business being implemented by Hyosung is enabling the storage and transport of hydrogen in an efficient, safe way. “Our investment will play a huge role in the development of the liquid hydrogen business and activation of the hydrogen industry,” he added.
□ Expected to play the role of locomotive in realizing the government’s “activation of hydrogen economy”
The MOU has great significance since it will make Hyosung have a solid foundation for leading the activation of the hydrogen economy in the mobility area.
It has something in common with the government’s “roadmap for the activation of hydrogen economy” announced in January when the government said it will propagate 6.2 million cars by 2040 and prepare 1,200 hydrogen stations.
In August last year, Hyosung announced its plan to invest in carbon fiber for the activation of hydrogen economy in the presence of President Moon Jae-in in the Carbon Fiber factory in Jeonju. At that time, Chairman Hyun-Joon Cho said during the agreement signing ceremony that Hyosung will invest approximately 1 trillion won in Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do Province by 2028 and produce 24,000 tons of carbon fiber annually.
Dubbed the “dream hi-tech material,” carbon fiber is 10 times stronger than iron while its weight is only one-fourth of iron. Carbon fiber is the core material of the fuel tank of hydrogen cars. Hyosung succeeded in developing carbon fiber in 2011 for the first time in Korea using its own technology, and it is currently putting spurs to the development and supply of carbon fiber for hydrogen fuel tank.
□ Easy storage and transportation of liquid hydrogen to increase the operation efficiency of hydrogen stations remarkably
It used to be pointed out that the Korean market is not very attractive due to the high cost of storage and transportation of hydrogen gas.
Hydrogen is liquefied at minus 253 degrees, and liquid hydrogen can be stored and transported easily as its volume is only 1/800 of hydrogen gas. A tank lorry can transport up to 3,500kg of liquid hydrogen, which is 14 times the 250kg hydrogen gas. In addition, the low-pressure liquid hydrogen is safer than the high-pressure hydrogen gas.
The operation efficiency of the charging station is also expected to be improved significantly. The time spent for charging a passenger car (5kg) will be shortened by 4 times from 12 minutes for hydrogen gas to 3 minutes for liquid hydrogen. Moreover, the reduced charging time will contribute to the expansion of hydrogen buses and trucks that need much hydrogen fuel (25kg).
As liquid hydrogen can be stored in a space smaller than the storage facility for hydrogen gas, it is possible to build a charging station on just 30% of the land of a hydrogen gas storage facility. As a result, the storage facility for liquid hydrogen can be built in the downtown area; thus increasing the access of hydrogen-fueled cars.
The business world believes that the bold investment of Hyosung in liquid hydrogen will lead the activation of the hydrogen economy amid the difficult economic situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Hyosung Heavy Industries has accumulated the technology and know-how in the area of gas charging for over 20 years after it advanced into the CNG charging system business in 2000. As the Linde Group has unparalleled technology in the areas of production, transportation, and charging of hydrogen, the two companies are expected to have synergy through cooperation.