In an effort by Incheon Airport in South Korea to become a low-carbon, eco-friendly airport it plans to replace its fleet of internal combustion engine buses and shuttles with fuel cell electric buses over the course of the next five years.
To help Incheon Airport reach its goal, a partnership involving Hyundai Motor Company, Air Liquide Korea and Hydrogen Energy Network (HyNet) has signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a hydrogen refueling station for fuel cell electric buses at Incheon Airport’s Terminal 2 by March 2021.
Hyundai will support the construction cost of the hydrogen refueling station while providing fuel cell electric buses as well as their maintenance and service. Incheon International Airport will provide a site for the station and Hydrogen Energy Network will handle its construction and operation. Air Liquide Korea will provide two high-capacity hydrogen chargers and supply hydrogen gas.
Over the next five years, Hyundai’s hydrogen-powered buses will gradually replace Incheon Airport’s current fleet of internal combustion engine buses that shuttle between the terminals, long-term parking lots and logistics complex. The first batch of seven fuel cell electric buses will go into operation in the second half of this year, followed by three to five buses entering service annually.
“We expect Incheon International Airport to emerge as the world’s leading eco-friendly airport with the new hydrogen refueling station and introduction of fuel cell electric buses,” said Seong Kwon Han, president and head of commercial vehicles division at Hyundai Motor Company. “The partnership across industries will be a stepping stone in bringing the hydrogen economy closer to daily lives. Hyundai Motor will continue to explore various ways to accelerate the hydrogen economy.”
The partnership is part of the Ministry of Environment’s project to install hydrogen refueling stations and subsidize privately financed infrastructure projects.
Hyundai Motor established a dedicated research team for hydrogen fuel cells in 1998 and in 2013 became the first global automaker to commercially produce fuel cell electric vehicles. The company first introduced its fuel cell electric buses for daily operation during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Since then, the company has supplied the buses to major cities in Korea such as Busan, Changwon, Ulsan, as well the Korean National Police Agency.