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Hyundai to develop hydrogen fuel excavators

Hyundai agreement signing

HCE joins forces with Hyundai Motors to develop hydrogen-powered construction equipment

HYUNDAI Construction Equipment (HCE) have recently joined forces with Hyundai Motor Group to develop the world’s first hydrogen-powered construction equipment.

Last month, HCE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the joint development of hydrogen fuel cell construction equipment with Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis.

Together, the three companies will look to develop hydrogen-powered forklifts and medium/large-capacity hydrogen-powered excavators over the next few years.

Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis will design and manufacture the hydrogen fuel cell systems, including power packs, while Hyundai Construction Equipment will design, manufacture and evaluate the performance of excavators and forklifts.

The target date for mass production and distribution is 2023. 

Unlike conventional diesel engine-based equipment, hydrogen-based electric construction equipment uses electricity produced through the chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen as its power source, with no emissions of toxic gases to the air.

Given the rapidly rising demand for eco-friendly equipment around the world, hydrogen-based construction equipment is expected to help HCE compete in the global construction market moving forward.

Moreover, compared with lithium batteries, which have been marred by structural issues limiting various attempts to increase battery capacity, hydrogen fuel cells are much easier to expand, making them a much more logical choice for large forklifts or excavators.

Hwang Jong-hyun, head of the R&D division for Hyundai Material Handling at Hyundai Construction Equipment, said: ‘With this latest agreement, we’ve prepared a foundation upon which we can secure core technology in hydrogen-powered construction equipment ahead of our competitors.

‘HCE will do its very best to meet the challenges that lie ahead as countries around the world attempt to establish global standards in terms of certifying the performance of equipment and legislating relevant laws for the commercialization of hydrogen-powered construction equipment, and play a leading role in the market moving forward.’

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