A Hyundai hydrogen-powered bus.
SEOUL: Hyundai Motor Company, in its drive to push hydrogen as the next source of fuel for vehicles, has partnered with Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC), Air Liquide Korea and Hydrogen Energy Network (HyNet) to accelerate Incheon Airport’s efforts to become a low-carbon eco-friendly airport.
The four parties signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a hydrogen refuelling station by March 2021, for fuel-cell electric buses at the airport's Terminal 2.
The South Korean carmaker will support the construction cost of the station while providing fuel cell electric buses as well as their maintenance and service.
The airport, on the other hand, will provide a site for the station while Hydrogen Energy Network will handle its construction and operation with Air Liquide Korea providing two high-capacity hydrogen chargers and will also supply hydrogen gas.
Over the next five years, the South Korean carmaker's hydrogen-powered buses will gradually replace the airport's current fleet of internal combustion engine buses that shuttle between the terminals, long-term parking lots and logistics complex.
The first batch of seven fuel-cell electric buses will go into operation in the second half of this year, followed by three to five buses entering service annually.
“We expect Incheon International Airport to emerge as the world’s leading eco-friendly airport with the new hydrogen refuelling station and introduction of fuel cell electric buses,” said Seong Kwon Han, President and Head of Commercial Vehicles Division at Hyundai Motor Company.
“The partnership across industries will be a stepping stone in bringing the hydrogen economy closer to daily lives. Hyundai Motor will continue to explore various ways to accelerate the hydrogen economy.” The partnership is part of the Ministry of Environment’s project to install hydrogen refuelling stations and subsidize privately financed infrastructure projects.
The South Korean brand established a dedicated research team for hydrogen fuel cells in 1998 and in 2013 became the first global automaker to commercially produce fuel cell electric vehicles.
The company first introduced its fuel cell electric buses for daily operation during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Since then, the company has supplied the buses to major cities in Korea — Busan, Changwon and Ulsan, as well the Korean National Police Agency.