An understanding has been reached between Hyundai Motor Company and INEOS which signals the formation of a mutualistic relationship between them as they both look to explore opportunities for the development and deployment of hydrogen technologies.
It is believed that said establishment will benefit INEOS’ audacious move into the electric vehicle (EV) market as they look to launch their debut 4×4 vehicle, the Grenadier, an off-roader which offers the familiarity of Jaguar Land Rover’s original Defender. Specifically, the petrochemical giant will acquire Hyundai’s modular fuel-cell system, already integrated within its NEXO SUV, which is said to possess the greatest driving range among hydrogen-powered automobiles present on the market.
Other structural benefits attributed to Hyundai’s novel dedicated fuel-cell architecture include its lighter weight, increased cabin space, accompanied by an improved system layout. Nonetheless, the group’s proprietary technology is ultimately praised for its ability to produce electricity. Said methodology encourages the sole emittance of water as its by-product and has the propensity to purify polluted air as it functions, ultimately characterising it as the optimum source of clean energy. Through its subsidiary INOVYN, INEOS has developed into one of Europe’s largest operators of electrolysis, simultaneously putting the company at the forefront of a carbon-conscious future based on the utilisation of hydrogen to produce electricity.
In 2018, Hyundai Motor Group announced its detailed mid-to long-term conceptualisation, Fuel Cell Vision 2030, which details the company’s aim to create a more sustainable future. In order to achieve this, the company aims to increase production of hydrogen fuel cell systems to 700,000 units by 2020. As such, the nature of this memorandum formed with INEOS is very important within an evolving industry where future success relies on the ability of manufacturers to secure new supply chains. Such significance placed on initiating the setup of a novel supply network is reflected through Volkswagen and BMW’s deals to secure lithium directly as a vital component to build their own batteries. Moreover, the demand for fuel-cell systems is expected to emerge quickly and rapidly with hydrogen power expected to experience high demand not just in the transportation sector but also in industries comprising of power generation and storage facilities. As expressed by Sae Hoon Kim, head of fuel cell’s at Hyundai, the hope is that synergy will be realised as the firm works with ‘INEOS’s expertise in the field of chemistry to realise the mass production of green hydrogen.’
It is clear that hydrogen, and its associated technology, is viewed as a valid prospect to rival natural gas and coal within heavy-carbon polluting sectors including aviation and automobiles. Nonetheless, whether the installation of a ‘hydrogen value chain’ will result in significant synergy being realised by both partners will depend upon investors’ sentiment towards a hydrogen ecosystem. In an industry where other ESG alternatives are emerging, such as the development of lithium-powered batteries, the pendulum’s motion dictating the very nature of change will continue to oscillate as innovators search for the most optimal economic and environmental strategy to deploy.
By Sasha Reed
Sector Head: Daniel Aliwell