Korean Fuel Cells at the Cost of Battery, and Green Steel Ambitions

Among the many interesting news and presentations at the H2 Mobility and Energy Show in Seoul on 8-11 September, two news stand out: Hyundai see fuel cells to be price competitive with batteries in 2030.POSCO is seeking leadership in production...

Among the many interesting news and presentations at the H2 Mobility and Energy Show in Seoul on 8-11 September, two news stand out:

  • Hyundai see fuel cells to be price competitive with batteries in 2030.
  • POSCO is seeking leadership in production of fossil free steel.

Starting with steel maker POSCO, they elaborate ambitious plans for transitioning to green production of steel and invite to a first Hydrogen Iron & Steel Making Forum, in Soul 6-8 October. Fittingly, Martin Pei, Executive VP and CTO of SSAB, will be a Keynote Speaker. It’s a good opportunity to tell the story about how Sweden delivered the world’s first fossil free steel.

Representatives of POSCO expressed skepticism about green steel manufacturing in conversations only 18 months ago. None of that seems to remain in their large pavilion on the H2 Show and they elaborate in presentations on how and when they are transitioning to HyREX (Hydrogen Reduction) for producing steel. This mean they are going to need 3.8 million tons of hydrogen by 2050 for manufacturing, and another 2 m tons to burn in a plant to produce energy. We expect the topics for discussions and presentations at the forum next week will touch on the common needs there are for Producing, storing, and using these large amounts of hydrogen in a safe and carbon free manner.

The other big news was a small mention in a presentation by the Executive VP of Hyundai Motor Group, Dong Wook Kim, that said they will produce fuel cell EV’s that are price competitive to battery EV’s by 2030. That is quite an astonishing claim considering the FCEV is like a battery EV but with a battery half the size and a tank for pressurized hydrogen and a fuel cell stack. If it’s possible to produce the tank and the fuel cell for the cost of half an EV battery, its good news for the hydrogen industry.

While this alternative technology is good news for cars, it should be even better news for trucks and utility vehicles that need bigger batteries and thus should reach the price point comparison earlier than regular cars. Anticipating this, Hyundai introduced several long-haul hydrogen solutions in the only pavilion that was bigger than that of POSCO at the H2 Show.

Written by Anders Hektor and Yeji Hong