Hyundai Steel is moving full steam ahead with its hydrogen business as the automobile industry shifts rapidly to environmentally friendly energy sources.
The steelmaker announced on Thursday that it will grow its hydrogen business to coincide with the manufacture of fuel cell electric vehicles by its largest client, Hyundai Motor Group. Hyundai Motor Group said in 2018 that it would create 500,000 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) by 2030 in its Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Vision 2030.
Hyundai Steel began producing hydrogen for commercial reasons in 2016 by using waste gases generated by its steel plants. In 2014, the business began building a hydrogen plant at the Dangjin Integrated Steel Mills.
According to the steelmaker, the hydrogen facility can create up to 3,500 metric tons of hydrogen per year. Based on the assumption that each vehicle travels 20,000 kilometers per year, the yearly manufacturing volume is sufficient to fuel 17,000 units of Hyundai Motor’s FCEV Nexo all year. On a single charge of 6.33 kg of hydrogen, Nexo has a driving range of 609 kilometers.
In a video, Hyundai Steel outlined the company’s future plans for its hydrogen business. By 2025, the company plans to tenfold its hydrogen production capacity, aiming to create 40,000 tons of hydrogen per year. That would be enough to keep 200,000 Nexo units running all year.
Hyundai Steel Chief Executive Officer Ahn Dong-il remarked, “With the goal of making our steel factory eco-friendly, we are actively boosting resource rotation and recycling.” “We will keep working on hydrogen generation and environmentally friendly energy sources to make our steel factory the most environmentally friendly steel mill in the world.”
Hyundai Steel generates hydrogen by extracting hydrogen from coke oven gas (COG), a form of byproduct gas produced during the steel mill’s coke production process, according to the business.
In the smelting of iron ore, coke, a form of coal, is used as a fuel. COG is produced during the manufacturing process, and the business filters it to remove tar, sulfur, and naphthalene.
The COG goes through a series of purification steps, including an electrostatic precipitator, an activated carbon tower, and Temperature Swing Adsorption methods, to make the hydrogen 99.999 percent pure, or “five nines,” according to the business.
“To employ the five nines for fuel cell vehicles, strict standards must be met,” a Hyundai Steel official stated.
Hyundai Steel’s Dangjin steel facility produces half of the hydrogen needed for fuel cell electric vehicles and semiconductor cleaning. The remainder is used at the factory to avoid product oxidation, according to the company.
Hyundai Steel also manufactures metal bipolar plates, which are important components of the fuel cell systems used in automobiles.
In addition to the hydrogen facility, the company produces enough metal bipolar plates for around 16,000 FCEV units per year, according to the business.