Hyundai Construction to develop hydrogen-powered excavators


Hyundai Construction Equipment has joined forces with Hyundai Motor Group to develop the world’s first hydrogen-powered construction equipment.

Last month Hyundai Construction Equipment signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the joint-development of hydrogen fuel cell construction equipment with Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis at its Mabuk Research Centre in Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do. Together, the three companies will look to develop hydrogen-powered forklifts and medium/large-capacity, hydrogen-powered excavators, over the next few years.

According to the MOU, 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 excavators and forklifts. The target date for mass production and distribution has been set to 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, meaning no emissions of toxic gases into the air. Given the rapidly rising demand for eco-friendly equipment around the world in recent years, hydrogen-based construction equipment is expected to help Hyundai Construction Equipment compete in the global construction market moving forward.

Compared to 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 more logical choice for large forklifts or excavators.

The partnership between Hyundai Construction Equipment and Hyundai Motors is expected to give the construction equipment industry a boost in terms of creating a hydrogen-based ecosystem, which is something all industry stakeholders are anticipating eagerly.


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Saul Wordsworth is deputy editor of the iVT brand - which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and Off-Highway Annual, as well as He is a keen cyclist and lives in north London.

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