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Hydrogen at top of agenda for Hyundai’s top executive

Jan 22,2020
Continuing Hyundai Motor Group’s campaign for a hydrogen-based future, the company’s top executive took the main stage at the Hydrogen Council’s annual meeting in Paris to argue for more cost cutting to expand the renewable fuel’s use.

Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung’s speech stressed that there is “no shortcut to creating a future hydrogen society,” emphasizing that it is essential to establish detailed implementation plans fit for respective industry sectors and different development stages.

Formed at the 2017 World Economic Forum, the council is composed of chief executives from 81 global leaders in energy, chemicals, transport and vehicle parts industries. As co-chair of the council, Chung delivered the opening remarks at its annual CEO meeting.

He noted that innovation is urgently needed to cut costs for hydrogen fuel, an eco-friendly and highly efficient energy source that remains substantially more expensive than conventional fuels. But ample room for improvement exists all along its value chain, the council elaborated in a statement, from production to storage and distribution.

In an analysis shared at the meeting, consulting firm McKinsey & Company forecast that development of hydrogen technology will decrease costs from this value chain by 50 percent by year 2030. This could in turn cut costs in 20 application fields where hydrogen has a major role to play, from long-distance transportation to global energy consumption, the consulting firm predicted.

However, the report noted that those forecasts would require policy support and investments totaling around $70 billion won by 2030.

“The Hydrogen Council hopes that the report’s findings will not only increase public awareness about the potential of hydrogen to power everyday lives, but also debunk the myth that a hydrogen economy is unattainable due to cost,” Chung said. “If we are to reach our global climate goals by mid-century and reap the benefits of hydrogen, now is the time to act.”

Chung also called governments and policymakers to actively promote the benefits of hydrogen and the opportunities it will create. He argued for the establishment of a safety management system throughout the entire hydrogen value chain in order to convince the public that hydrogen is a reliably safe form of energy.

Chung also attended the annual Choose France summit held at Versailles Palace on the same day, which invited 190 global business leaders and was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron.

On Wednesday, Chung will fly over to Davos, Switzerland, for the 2020 World Economic Forum. This will the executive vice chair’s first time in two years to attend the event.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]