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Hyundai Motor to Use Expertise to Develop Hydrogen Marine Propulsion

maritime hydrogen fuel cell propulsion
Hyundai Motors will leverage its car technology for maritime hydrogen fuel cell propulsion (Hyundai Motors)

Published Jul 8, 2021 2:36 PM by The Maritime Executive

Hyundai Motor Company plans to leverage its experience in developing hydrogen fuel cell systems to develop commercial hydrogen propulsion systems for the maritime industry. The South Korean car company, which introduced the world’s first fuel cell electric vehicle in 2013, expects to launch its first propulsion systems for small-sized vessels in the second half of 2022 as a step toward mid- to large-sized ships.

Hyundai Motor announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hyundai Global Service, a subsidiary of the South Korean shipbuilding operation Hyundai Heavy Industries specializing in ship electric propulsion, and Korean Register. With its proven track record of fuel cell system technologies in the automobile sector, the company is actively seeking to expand the application of its fuel cell technology to other areas and industries, including vessels, railways, and power generation.

“This MOU signals Hyundai Motor’s entry into the fuel cell-powered marine vessel market,” said Saehoon Kim, Executive Vice President and Head of Fuel Cell Center at Hyundai Motor Group. “We hope our decades-long experience and capabilities in hydrogen fuel cell technologies, combined with the expertise of Hyundai Global Service and Korean Register in the maritime industry, will usher in a new era of greener and cleaner shipping.”

Hyundai Motor will supply the fuel cell systems and provide technical support, while Hyundai Global Service will manufacture and commercialize the fuel cell-based propulsion systems. Korean Register will be responsible for establishing standards for type approval, which all fuel cell-propelled vessels of varying sizes must meet to receive approval for commercial use.

The collaboration is also expected to serve as a platform to identify and evaluate business opportunities for fuel cell-powered ships, positioning Hyundai Motor in the global eco-friendly vessel industry and development of hydrogen fuel-cell propulsion systems.