Business growth and support organisation Business West has launched a new initiative to connect innovators in the field of hydrogen technology in the region with their counterparts in South Korea.
Swindon is already renowned as a centre of hydrogen technology, with two hydrogen refuelling stations – the greatest number in one city outside of London – and a base of manufacture at technology company Johnson Matthey, which develops and manufactures the fuel cells that drive hydrogen-powered cars.
Meanwhile, motor dealer Pebley Beach is one of the UK's leading suppliers of hydrogen-powered cars, and supplied a Hyundai Nexo hydrogen-fuelled SUV to Business West.
Under the terms of Business West's Memorandum of Understanding with the Korean Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre the organisations will identify, support and connect manufacturers and innovators to share expertise, initiate collaborative R&D projects, and accelerate the joint development of hydrogen technology.
South Korea is already on course to becoming a world leader in hydrogen mobility, with a clear strategy to achieve 6.2m hydrogen powered vehicles on its roads by 2040.
The technology is expected to add 43 trillion won ($38 billion) to the South Korean economy, with vehicle maker Hyundai already investing 7.6 trillion won ($6.7 billion) in the development of hydrogen mobility solutions.
Business West and AMRC have already collaborated extensively to develop the relationship between the two countries in the delivery of Innovate UK’s Global Business Innovation Programme..
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.
“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,” said Phil Smith, managing director of Business West.
“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,” continued Phil Smith. “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 we added the hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo to our fleet of vehicles and through this MoU, hope that South West innovators can help make hydrogen power far more readily available.”
Jounghwan Lee, executive director of AMRC Korea, said: "This MoU will greatly promote more international cooperation in the industry and between our two countries.
"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."