SK E&S, the energy unit of South Korean conglomerate SK Group, announced plans to produce up to 30,000 tons of liquid hydrogen per year at a new facility in Incheon to support the switch to low- and zero-emission vehicles.

The company said it had reached an agreement with several government ministries and private companies including Hyundai Motor, Hyosung and Hychangwon, ahead of starting domestic production and distribution of the fuel next year.

Liquid hydrogen produced at the plant would be supplied to a network of around 40 r3efuelling stations nationwide set up by SK Plug Hyverse, a joint venture between SK E&S and US company Plug Power. The network would be expanded to around 100 outlets by 2025.

Liquid hydrogen is seen as a safer alternative to gaseous hydrogen, can be more easily transported and offers shorter refuelling times. It is seen as one of the main alternatives to diesel in heavy trucks and intercity coaches.

Distribution networks for the fuel are expanding in the US, Europe and China, to cater for a growing fleet of vehicles.

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