Business West to help UK SMEs collaborate with Korea in hydrogen mobility

Hydrogen Hyundai Nexo

Business West, the company which offers business support to start-ups and growing businesses in the West of England, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Korean Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to encourage collaboration between South West businesses and Korean innovators in the field of hydrogen mobility.

Under the terms of the agreement, Business West and AMRC will identify, support and connect manufacturers and innovators to share expertise, initiate collaborative R&D projects, and accelerate the joint development of this important technology.

South Korea is on course to becoming a world leader in hydrogen mobility, with a clear strategy to achieve 6.2m hydrogen powered vehicles on its roads by 2040. The technology is expected to add 43 trillion won ($38bn) to the South Korean economy, with vehicle maker Hyundai already investing 7.6 trillion won ($6.7bn) in the development of hydrogen mobility solutions.

One innovator which hopes to be supported by the new agreement is PV3 Technologies. It recently secured funding from Aerospace Cornwall to help support new R&D projects in green hydrogen.

Business West and AMRC have already collaborated extensively in the delivery of Innovate UK’s Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP). The programme facilitates in-country visits for South West SMEs and opens doors to senior figures at globally-renowned companies such as Hyundai, Korean Air and Korean Aerospace.

Phil Smith, Managing Director, Business West, said: “We select the most ambitious innovators to be involved in the GBIP and then work intensively to prepare them for the cultural and business landscape in Korea. Under the MoU, we will expand on this approach, to help our brightest innovators in hydrogen technologies make the right connections and get the right preparations.”

“We also see this as an important step in driving climate action,” he added. “As part of the International Chambers’ Climate Coalition, we not only want to champion lower carbon emissions, but also help South West businesses carve out an important role in the development of tomorrow’s green technologies. Last year we added the hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo to our fleet of vehicles and through this MoU, hope that South West innovators can help make hydrogen power far more readily available.”

Jounghwan Lee, Executive Director of AMRC Korea, said: “This MoU will greatly promote more international cooperation in the industry and between our two countries. The annual visit of UK delegates creates new opportunities every year and these fruitful meetings have been instrumental in reaching this MoU.  We see this as a starting point and hope it will promote the hydrogen mobility industry in both Korea and the UK through more collaborations, technology transfers, and greater investment.”


Hydrogen fuel cell technology

Hydrogen reacts with the oxygen in the air, which creates an electrical charge that can be used to power a vehicle. The only waste products from hydrogen are heat and water, making it a zero-emission technology. It’s also a sustainable fuel in comparison to fossil fuels and its production in solar or wind-powered hydrogen plants means it has a low carbon footprint.

Fuel cell technology is less expensive to produce than batteries and internal combustion engines. Fuel cells don’t need changed, charged, or managed like batteries, which saves time in the manufacturing process. Because they eliminate the need for a battery charging infrastructure, fuel cells also reduce the power demands on manufacturers, reducing their overall production costs.