Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai Motor), Kia Corporation (Kia), and W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) have entered into a collaborative agreement at the Mabuk Eco-Friendly R&D Center in Korea. This collaboration aims to advance the development of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) for hydrogen fuel cell systems.

The collaborative initiative among the involved parties will focus on crucial aspects of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) development. The overarching objective of this joint effort is to create an advanced PEM specifically designed for the next generation of fuel cell electric commercial vehicles.

In the operation of a hydrogen fuel cell, a PEM is employed to facilitate the movement of protons between two electrodes. This membrane serves the essential function of preventing the direct combination of incoming hydrogen and oxygen gases. Instead, it enables the selective conduction of protons, leading to the generation of an electrical current that powers a vehicle. The effectiveness and durability of the fuel cell system heavily rely on the performance of PEM technology, underscoring its critical role in this energy conversion process.

For a span of over 15 years, Hyundai Motor, Kia, and Gore have engaged in collaborative efforts within the realm of fuel cells. Leveraging this extensive relationship, the renewed partnership will centre on the joint development of an optimized fuel cell system tailored for commercial vehicles. The primary focus will be on elevating performance and durability, reflecting a commitment to advancing the technology for sustainable and efficient use in the transportation sector.

“We are entering the next chapter of our partnership with Gore,” said Chang Hwan Kim, Head of Battery Development and Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Development at Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation.

“By leveraging the 15 years of collaboration, we will acquire advanced fuel cell technology and lead the fuel cell electric vehicle market, accelerating the movement towards a sustainable future,” he added.

Gore, an advanced materials company headquartered in Delaware, US, contributes its specialised knowledge in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM), Catalyst Coated Membrane, and Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) technology to this collaborative partnership.

By merging Gore’s PEM technology with Hyundai Motor and Kia’s advanced fuel cell expertise, the objective is to integrate this advanced PEM technology into the next generation of fuel cell systems. This incorporation spans applications in passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and extends to non-automotive sectors, showcasing a commitment to expanding the reach and impact of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

The collaborative efforts further extend the foundation laid by Hyundai Motor Group over 25 years of dedicated focus on hydrogen technology, culminating in the establishment of the HTWO hydrogen business brand in 2020.

Demonstrating a proactive approach, the Group is currently in the process of global expansion of its fuel cell business. This expansion encompasses a diverse array of sectors, ranging from passenger and commercial vehicles to marine vessels, aerospace applications, power generation, and beyond, illustrating the comprehensive scope of Hyundai Motor Group’s commitment to advancing hydrogen-based solutions on a global scale.