Hyundai, Kia, and Gore Join Forces for Advanced Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems

Hyundai Motor, Kia, and W. L. Gore are partnering to develop advanced polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) for hydrogen fuel cells at the Mabuk Eco-Friendly R&D Center, Korea. The 15-year collaboration focuses on optimizing fuel cell systems for commercial vehicles, emphasizing improved performance and durability. Gore’s expertise complements Hyundai and Kia’s fuel cell know-how for a sustainable future.

Hyundai Motor Group’s headquarters in Yangjae, Seocho-gu, southern Seoul (Hyundai Motor Group)
Hyundai Motor Group’s headquarters in Yangjae, Seocho-gu, southern Seoul (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor and Kia to Develop Polymer Electrolyte Membrane with Gore for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems

Seoul, South Korea, January 7, 2024 – In a significant move towards advancing hydrogen fuel cell technology, Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai Motor), Kia Corporation (Kia), and W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) have recently inked a collaborative agreement at the Mabuk Eco-Friendly R&D Center in Korea. The primary focus of this collaboration is the development of an advanced polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) for hydrogen fuel cell systems, with a special emphasis on fueling the next generation of fuel cell electric commercial vehicles.

The Heart of the Matter: Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Development

At the core of a hydrogen fuel cell system lies the Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM), a vital component that conducts protons between electrodes. By preventing the direct combination of incoming hydrogen and oxygen gases, the PEM allows for the selective conduction of protons, resulting in the generation of an electrical current to power the vehicle. The performance and durability of the fuel cell system depend significantly on the quality of the PEM technology.

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia, and Gore signed an agreement to jointly develop polymer electrolyte membranes for next-generation hydrogen electric vehicles. (Image: Gore)
Hyundai Motor Company and Kia, and Gore signed an agreement to jointly develop polymer electrolyte membranes for next-generation hydrogen electric vehicles. (Image: Gore)

Having collaborated for over 15 years in the field of fuel cells, Hyundai Motor, Kia, and Gore are expanding their partnership to jointly develop an optimal fuel cell system for commercial vehicles. This collaboration aims to enhance the performance and durability of the fuel cell system, marking a significant step forward in the pursuit of sustainable transportation solutions.

A Decade-Long Partnership: Building on Past Success

The collaboration between Hyundai Motor, Kia, and Gore is not a spontaneous venture but rather the next chapter in a decade-long partnership. According to Chang Hwan Kim, Head of Battery Development and Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Development at Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation, “By leveraging the 15 years of collaboration, we will acquire advanced fuel cell technology and lead the fuel cell electric vehicle market, accelerating the movement towards a sustainable future.”

Gore’s Expertise in Advanced Materials

W. L. Gore & Associates, based in Delaware, USA, brings a wealth of expertise in PEM, Catalyst Coated Membrane, and MEA (Membrane Electrode Assembly) technology to the table. Gore’s advanced PEM technology, combined with the extensive experience of Hyundai Motor and Kia in fuel cell systems, positions the collaboration to incorporate cutting-edge PEM technology into next-generation fuel cell systems. This integration will not only benefit passenger cars but also extend to commercial vehicles and non-automotive sectors.

Michelle Augustine, Gore Clean Energy Business Group Leader, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership: “Leveraging our advanced PEM technology solutions, we will work together with Hyundai Motor and Kia to enable them to deliver fuel cell vehicles that provide a performance and cost advantage to consumers.”

Hyundai Motor Group’s Decades-Long Commitment to Hydrogen Technology

This collaboration builds upon Hyundai Motor Group’s unwavering commitment to hydrogen technology, spanning an impressive 25 years. In 2020, the Group established the HTWO hydrogen business brand, reflecting its dedication to advancing hydrogen-based solutions. The Group is actively expanding its fuel cell business on a global scale, covering various sectors such as passenger and commercial vehicles, marine vessels, aerospace applications, power generation, and more.

Accelerating Towards a Sustainable Future

As the automotive industry continues to grapple with the challenges of sustainable transportation, the collaboration between Hyundai Motor, Kia, and Gore stands out as a beacon of progress. The focus on developing an advanced polymer electrolyte membrane for hydrogen fuel cell systems underscores the commitment to not just meeting current environmental standards but exceeding them.

With an eye on the future, the joint efforts of these companies aim to revolutionize fuel cell technology, making it more accessible, efficient, and applicable across a spectrum of industries. As the world shifts towards cleaner energy alternatives, this collaboration positions Hyundai Motor and Kia at the forefront of the fuel cell electric vehicle market, ready to lead the charge towards a greener and more sustainable future.

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Source(s): Gore

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