Hyundai Rotem intends to enter hydrogen infrastructure market to supply hydrogen train charging facilities, including for light rail vehicles. According to local media, the company’s plan follows the completion of a technology transfer of hydrogen reformers which extract hydrogen from natural gas.
Currently, a pilot project is implemented to build a hydrogen charging station in Changwon, at Hyundai Rotem’s manufacturing plant. The successful project would pave the way for hydrogen train development.
Hyundai is decided to accelerate hydrogen technology development which also includes other transport segments and plans to make hydrogen play an important role in future mobility.
In June 2019, Hyundai Rotem and Hyundai Motor signed memorandum of understanding to develop a hydrogen light rail vehicle expected to be unveiled this year. Under the plans, the future hydrogen light rail vehicle would be tested in 2021.
Under the agreement, Hyundai Motor is responsible for the supply of hydrogen fuel cells for technology development and support related technologies. Hyundai Rotem committed to develop and verify system interfaces between hydrogen fuel cells and vehicles, along with the production of hydrogen electric trains. Hyundai Group plans to manufacture a rail vehicle able to run 200 km between refuelling stops with speeds of up to 70 km/h.
The company will increase the number of research-development and innovation staff by 30% until 2022 focusing on hydrogen light rail vehicle development.
Hyundai Rotem estimates that hydrogen train market will reach EUR 440.4 million (Won 600 billion) and is expected an increased demand.
Starting 2018, Hyundai Motor is highly involved in the hydrogen mobility market with the first applications for hydrogen fuelled bus, unveiled in 2019 and in the same year, the company announced plans to develop a hydrogen fuelled ship.
According to a study commissioned in 2019 by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking in 2019, there is a significant market potential for hydrogen train market in Europe. Hydrogen trains, with zero-emission, are the best cost-competitive solution to replace diesel trains. The study says that fuel cells and hydrogen trains can replace 30% of diesel vehicles by 2030.