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Hyundai Motor, US Energy Department join hands for hydrogen fuel cell tech

Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun (left) shakes hands with US Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes after signing a memorandum of understanding in Washington, DC, on Monday local time. (Hyundai Motor Group)
Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun (left) shakes hands with US Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes after signing a memorandum of understanding in Washington, DC, on Monday local time. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group said Tuesday it has joined hands with the US Department of Energy to expand the use of hydrogen fuel cell technology globally and innovate further. 

The company said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the department in Washington, DC.

Hyundai Motor Group’s Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun met with US Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes to exchange their vision and direction for the future hydrogen society, the company added. 

“We expect the latest cooperation will create synergies, as the US is enthusiastic about popularizing hydrogen fuel cell technology and is interested in the potential of hydrogen energy,” Chung said. 

The two sides plan to cooperate to share industry data secured by operating hydrogen fuel cell cars and charging stations with state-run institutes, companies and academic circles, so that the related technology and global usage can be developed and expanded. 

Hyundai said the latest deal is meaningful in terms of getting a foothold in the US for spreading the use of the technology, as there are only limited number of hydrogen fuel cell cars, mostly in California. The US has the highest number of fuel cell cars in the world at 7,937 units as of 2019. 

It is also in line with the US government’s H2FIRST project -- Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology -- which was launched by the Energy Department’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office in 2013. 

The goal of the project is to ensure that fuel cell vehicle drivers have a positive fueling experience similar to conventional gas stations as more vehicles are introduced with the transition to advanced fueling technology, according to the US government. 

Under the agreement, Hyundai will offer five units of its hydrogen fuel cell car Nexo and support establishing charging stations across Washington, DC. 

Opening hydrogen stations in Washington, DC was considered to symbolize the area’s significance as major federal government offices and institutes are located there, as well as to expand the use of hydrogen fuel cell cars, the company said.

The automaker and the US energy authorities will test drive Nexo in various road and temperature conditions to secure data on durability, fuel efficiency and performance of the hydrogen fuel cell system. 

The obtained data will be shared among hydrogen industry-related academia, government agencies and experts to establish new cooperative relations for research as well as personnel development programs, the automaker said. 

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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