Hyundai is developing hydrogen-powered excavators

hydrogen fuel
Hyundai file photo

Hyundai Construction Equipment, recently entered into an agreement with Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis to develop hydrogen fuelled excavators and forklifts.

Development of the hydrogen powered machines is set to begin this year, and Hyundai plans to roll out the technology as soon as 2023.

The three companies will collaborate on the technology at Hyundai’s Mabuk Research Center in Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea.

According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by all parties, Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis will design and manufacture hydrogen fuel cell systems, including power packs, while Hyundai Construction Equipment will design, manufacture and evaluate the performance of the excavators and forklifts incorporating the technology.

The agreement lays the foundation for commercialization of hydrogen-powered equipment.

“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,” said Hwang Jong-hyun, head of the research and development division for Hyundai Construction Equipment and Hyundai Material Handling.

“Hyundai Construction Equipment will do its very best to meet the challenges that lie ahead as countries around the world attempt to establish global standard for 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.”

How hydrogen works

Unlike conventional diesel-engine equipment, hydrogen-based electric construction equipment uses electricity produced through the chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen as its power source, which means there are no toxic emissions polluting the air.

In addition, compared with lithium-battery-powered electric machines, hydrogen fuel cells are especially compatible with the power demands associated with large construction equipment because it is easier to expand the capacity of hydrogen fuel cells.

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“Being part of the Hyundai team that will lead the future of hydrogen-powered equipment globally is a great honour,” said Stan Park, vice president of distribution and marketing for Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas.

“We look forward to introducing this important forward-looking technology to customers across North America who are interested in clean, alternative fuel sources.”