South Korea is betting big on hydrogen. The market size of Korea is anticipated to reach Korean Won (KRW) 26.8 Trillion by 2030
The hydrogen economy is of key strategic importance to Korea, a country lacking in both conventional and easily exploitable renewable energy resources. Its industrial gases industry has long been influenced by Japanese, American and German technologies and standards, but as hydrogen begins to play a more transformative role in the broader economy, Korea is keen to ensure it has greater control over the technologies and standards that will underpin that transition.
Building on this, the Korean government announced its Hydrogen Economy Roadmap in 2019. The roadmap aims to deploy 15GW of utility-scale and 2.1GW of commercial and residential fuel cells by 2040. In terms of mobility, the goal is to have 5.9 million fuel cell cars and 60,000 fuel cell buses on the road by 2040 all supported by 1,200 hydrogen refuelling stations.
The announcement of Korea’s Green New Deal in July 2020 - a coronavirus stimulus plan outlining KRW 74 trillion (£47bn) in ‘green’ public-private capital investment by 2025 - should help the country on its way to achieving these aggressive long-term goals. Korea’s hydrogen industry is forecast to almost double in size from KRW 14.1 trillion (£9.1bn) in 2020 to KRW 26.8 trillion (£17.3bn) by 2030.
This growth will be driven by investments from large local players such as Hyundai and Doosan who increasingly see hydrogen as a key growth engine. Hyundai Motors intends to spend KRW 7.6 trillion (£4.9bn) under its ‘Fuel Cell Vision 2030’ programme and looks well placed to capitalise on its early-mover advantage in fuel cells, both by selling its own vehicles and by licensing its fuel cell systems to OEMs around the world.