HD Hyundai Envisions Future of Sustainable Energy

HD Hyundai unveiled plans for offshore hydrogen production and other sustainable energy sources at CES 2023.

The Prism Courage recently sailed roughly 10,000 kilometers in total distance using HD Hyundai’s HiNAS 2.0 autonomous navigation technology. (HD Hyundai)

HD Hyundai has lofty plans for the future of hydrogen propulsion and production. At CES 2023, the company made several announcements about its vision for “Ocean Transformation,” which translates to the company’s plan to utilize ocean resources to produce sustainable energy. It is estimated that the volume of ocean shipping will triple by 2050 and the company hopes to reduce its carbon footprint and reach net zero by that timeframe.

HD Hyundai plans to utilize its SMRs as a compact solution for power generation on their ships. (HD Hyundai)

“For HD Hyundai, the ocean is our home base; It’s where we can share the depth of our expertise,” said Kisun Chung, President & CEO of HD Hyundai. “To solve the most pressing challenges faced by mankind today, we must capitalize on the infinite potential of the sea.”

HD Hyundai — the new holding-company structure comprised of the businesses of the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Group — believes that the oceans offer “infinite potential” for sustainability. The company’s plan includes four key concepts: Ocean Mobility, Ocean Wise, Ocean Life and Ocean Energy.

Ocean Mobility is the company’s marine data platform which aims to provide a safer and more economical future ship based on unmanned and remote digital solutions. Ocean Wise describes the utilization of marine data solutions such as A.I., as well as autonomous technologies.

Ocean Life aims to expand marine leisure experiences through technology that enhances safety and convenience. Ocean Energy is HD Hyundai’s vision of a sustainable-energy ecosystem of marine energy production, transportation and utilization based on technologies such as next-generation propulsion.

“We’re building the hydrogen value chain to efficiently convert and transport energy, carbon-free,” explained Sungjoon Kim, senior executive vice president of KSOE.” It starts with water electrolysis on our versatile HiFloat platform that uses renewable electricity to produce green hydrogen. Using the heat from SMRs (Small Modular Reactors), we may even achieve 100% conversion efficiency.”

The nuclear option

HD Hyundai touted its SMRs as a compact solution for power generation. The units are roughly one sixth the size of conventional nuclear powerplants, which makes them small enough to be mounted on the company’s ships. “We continue to explore the potential of SMRs as an efficient and reliable source of energy for our ships,” said Kim. “We can also use them on our HiFloat platforms, as part of ocean energy clusters that will turn our oceans into new spaces for sustainable energy production.”

The company’s ultimate vision, according to Kim, is for its energy carriers to transport the clean hydrogen produced at these facilities to the most cost-competitive sources and areas of high demand. HD Hyundai also is currently operating floating offshore windfarm platforms in Korea. The largest such station can generate up to 88 megawatts, but there reportedly is another station under construction that will be able to generate up to 1.5 gigawatts.

Kim also presented plans for a dual-fuel marine engine that can run on hydrogen or ammonia. “An increasing portion of our energy freight will be renewable sources, especially hydrogen and ammonia,” he explained. “We’re developing future energy carriers for their safe and efficient transportation, like the world’s largest ammonia carrier with a 90,000 square-meter capacity, which is also the first to be powered with carbon-free ammonia fuel, as well as the world’s first liquefied-hydrogen carrier with a capacity of 40,000 square meters.”

Kisun Chung, President & CEO of HD Hyundai. (HD Hyundai)

Kim stated that in addition to hydrogen power, electrification is accelerating in the industry and that by 2030, roughly 30% of small and mid-sized ships will feature electric propulsion. “Electric vessels are great not just for their carbon-reduction advantages, but also for more responsive control, greater flexibility in system design, low noise and low vibration,” he said. “We’ll be able to use (our) Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) with hydrogen to power our ships much more efficiently and sustainably.”

The company also touted its range of wind-assisted propulsion systems such as Hi-Rotor, HD Hyundai’s rotor sail solution, as well as the wing sail. “They maximize the aerodynamic forces to improve your ship’s fuel efficiency by as much as 20-30% if the wind’s right,” said Kim. “We’re also developing the world’s first LNG carrier with its aerodynamically shaped superstructure in front of the ship. This design can reduce wind resistance by almost 30%.”

Kim continued, “These hydrogen charging stations will supply our lineup of carbon-free construction equipment like hydrogen-powered excavators and forklifts (https://www.sae.org/news/2022/10/hyundai-h2-and-excavators, as well as a fast-growing range of hydrogen cars and machines. We’re also developing our first-generation SOFCs together with the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, which convert hydrogen to generate energy. Our goal is to deliver SOFC with a total efficiency of 85% by 2025 – that’s double the fuel efficiency of conventional fossil-fuel engines.”

Team turbine

HD Hyundai has several partners in the production of clean energy. One of them is General Electric, which is collaborating with the company’s offshore wind power facilities. Jan Kjaersgaard, CEO of GE offshore wind, described the advantages of offshore wind generation. “The HiFloat platforms can float energy production facilities anywhere regardless of depth or topography, and maintain stability even in harsh weather thanks to its center turbine design,” he said.

Kjaersgaard continued, saying, “Offshore windfarms, for example, are much freer from restrictions than onshore windfarms. That’s why offshore wind is expected to grow much faster than onshore. From generating 135 TWh, 0.5% of world energy production now, to 7% with 5,000 TWh by 2050. Cost-wise, its structure is optimized for ease of production, standardized for economies of scale and automated production at our smart yards can reduce initial costs. HiFloat’s passive ballast also minimizes maintenance costs.”