Business West drives further collaboration with South Korea on hydrogen vehicles

November 3, 2020

Swindon-based automotive manufacturers could soon be collaborating with South Korean innovators to develop next-generation hydrogen vehicles under a new agreement signed by Business West, the region’s largest business group.

South Korea is on course to becoming a world leader in hydrogen mobility, with a clear strategy to have 6.2m hydrogen powered vehicles on its roads by 2040. 

The technology is expected to add 43 trillion won (£29bn) to the South Korean economy, with vehicle maker Hyundai already investing 7.6 trillion won in developing hydrogen technology.

Business West, which runs the Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative, 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 hydrogen mobility.

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

Business West and AMRC have already collaborated extensively to develop the relationship between the two countries in delivering 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. 

Business West managing director Phil Smith said: “We take time to carefully select the most cutting-edge and 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. 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 Business West added the hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo, pictured above, to its fleet of vehicles.

AMRC Korea executive director Jounghwan Lee said the MoU would greatly promote more international cooperation in the industry.

“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,” he said.

One innovative South West firm hoping to be supported by the new agreement is Cornwall-based PV3 Technologies, which recently secured funding from Aerospace Cornwall to help support new R&D projects in green hydrogen.

CEO Dr David Hodgson said: “South Korea has real ambition to be a leader in hydrogen utilisation and has already built up great capability in fuel cells and fuel cell vehicles.

“As a South West materials provider to the hydrogen sector, I’m excited to see the MoU come into effect, and look forward to subsequent partnership opportunities in South Korea.”



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