Air Liquide powers Korea’s heavy duty hydrogen mobility

Air Liquide is powering Korea’s heavy duty hydrogen market development with high pressure filling centres and liquid hydrogen investment.

According to Korea’s Hydrogen Economy Roadmap, the country aims to produce 6.2 million fuel cell electric vehicles and have rolled out at least 1,200 hydrogen refueling stations by 2040. It also includes plans to ramp up hydrogen buses to 41,000 and outlines an objective to supply 15 GW of fuel cell power generation.

Together with multiple local partners, Air Liquide is developing the sector across the entire value chain: production, storage, distribution, application and several large scale projects.

In May, Air Liquide and Lotte Chemical entered a joint venture to scale-up the hydrogen supply chain for mobility markets in the country, and the companies will co-invest through the joint venture in a new generation of large scale hydrogen filling centers in Daesan and Ulsan, allowing them to serve three of the country’s most densely populated regions, including the Seoul metropolitan area.

Air Liquide and Lotte Chemical also expect multiple synergies and envision the development of several opportunities to foster the rise of the hydrogen economy in Korea.

The industrial gas giant will bring its expertise in design, manufacturing and operation of key hydrogen technologies including for hydrogen conditioning and distribution, and hydrogen refuelling stations, while Lotte Chemical will provide large quantities of hydrogen, from its own off-gas sources located in Korea’s main industrial basins of Daesan and Ulsan.

These sites are strategically located to host the conditioning hubs and refueling stations, and leverage demand in hydrogen for its own fleet of trucks group wide.

In the same spirit, Air Liquide aims to help decarbonise the aviation sector. In February, together with Airbus, Korean Air and Incheon International Airport Corporation, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the use of hydrogen at Incheon International Airport.

More globally, the collaboration will also study the development of a Korean airport infrastructure to support the deployment of hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft. This partnership reflects a shared ambition to drive the emergence of an innovative aviation sector dedicated to supporting the Korean government’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

The airport currently counts two high-capacity hydrogen refueling stations that were developed by Air Liquide, which will also supply the molecule under a long-term contract. The goal of Incheon International Airport Corporation is to gradually upgrade its current fleet of shuttle buses with hydrogen buses. A project also includes Hyundai Motor Company (hydrogen buses) and HyNet (station operator).

In the downstream market, where Korea is leading worldwide adoption of hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles, alongside Germany, Japan and California, Air Liquide is participating in the HyNet (Hydrogen Network) consortium with 13 companies, with the goal to deploy a nationwide network of hydrogen refuelling stations.

In March 2021, Air Liquide entered into another consortium named KOHYGEN to build hydrogen stations for buses and trucks. KOHYGEN targets to build and operate 300 heavy duty hydrogen stations by 2040.

The addressable market size for green businesses in Asia is expected to reach between $4-$5trn by 2030.

Net Zero emissions policies, falling renewables costs and strong business activity in electrolyser manufacturing and efficiency gains could deliver up to 50% cost decline for green hydrogen by 2030, according to Wood Mackenzie.

“This magnitude of cost reduction will require sub-US$30 per megawatt-hour renewable electricity prices, large size electrolyser deployments and high load hours,” it states.

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