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Hyundai’s Chung Euisun presents 3 directions for hydrogen society in Paris

Automaker chief says there is no shortcut to future hydrogen society

Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun (front row, fourth from right) poses with global CEOs during the Hydrogen Council’s annual CEO event in Paris on Monday. (Hyundai Motor Group)
Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun (front row, fourth from right) poses with global CEOs during the Hydrogen Council’s annual CEO event in Paris on Monday. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Global communities need to seek ways to advance a hydrogen society based on three aspects -- cost reduction through technological innovation, expansion of public receptivity and establishment of a safety management system -- according to Hyundai Motor chief Chung Euisun, who attended a CEO event of a global alliance for hydrogen technologies in Paris on Monday. 

“There is a no shortcut to the future hydrogen society. It is most important for the hydrogen industry to establish a specific execution plan step by step, industry by industry, and act with continuity,” Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung said in his welcome speech at the annual event, according to Hyundai Motor Group.

To make hydrogen energy a realistic solution and an answer to future energy transformation, the abovementioned three aspects should come first, said Chung, who took up the role of Hydrogen Council co-chair in January last year.

He has called on the governments of each country and businesses around the world to jointly make efforts to create a hydrogen society. 

According to a McKenzie report, the hydrogen industry is expected to be worth 280 billion won ($240 million), to create 30 million jobs and to satisfy 18 percent of overall energy demand, by 2050. 

Until now, hydrogen production has involved the use of byproduct hydrogen derived from the petrochemical process. Another way involves directly extracting hydrogen from natural gas or separating hydrogen from water. 

But all three methods have come under criticism, as using fossil fuel to create hydrogen could contribute to global warming and using water to get hydrogen has low transfer efficiency but high production cost.

Touching on the latter method, Chung said all sectors in the hydrogen industry should cut cost through technological innovation and secure momentum for sustainability.

He stressed the need to cut cost in terms of production, storage and use, as hydrogen has been evaluated as an alternative energy source to replace fossil fuel thanks to its high efficiency and eco-friendliness. 

According to market data, the average hydrogen fuel price came to between 6,000 to 8,000 won per kilogram as of last year. 

Chung also highlighted the need to expand public receptivity toward hydrogen. 

The industry “must effectively suggest the practical value of a hydrogen society, to expand public receptivity and tap into the new market,” Chung said. 

He urged the industry to take action to increase public understanding and awareness toward hydrogen energy and the industry’s vision and value. 

As for safety management, Chung suggested mutual efforts to create a safety system across industries.

Established in Davos, Switzerland, in 2017, the Hydrogen Council is a first-of-its-kind global CEO initiative and alliance of hydrogen technologies. It promotes the energy transition from fossil fuels and fosters the role of hydrogen technologies. Its members comprise 81 leading multinational companies, including Saudi Aramco, British Petroleum, Shell and Total.

Hyundai Motor said Chung will participate in the World Economic Forum on Tuesday in Davos, to discuss and exchange ideas for the role of mobility in a hydrogen society with world leaders.

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