Automakers Hyundai and Kia, in conjunction with US company W. L. Gore & Associates, are engaged in a collaborative effort to develop proton exchange membranes (PEM) for fuel cell systems. These membranes will subsequently be integrated into hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles.
W. L. Gore & Associates, a materials technology firm based in Newark, specializes in products made from fluoropolymers, with notable contributions including the development of waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex fabrics. The partnership with Hyundai and Kia will specifically focus on key aspects of PEM development, which is a crucial component of fuel cells.
In a hydrogen fuel cell system, the PEM facilitates the conduction of protons between electrodes. The membrane serves to block the direct connection of incoming hydrogen and oxygen gases, allowing the selective conduction of protons. This process generates an electric current, powering the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
According to Hyundai, PEM technology plays a pivotal role in determining the performance and durability of the fuel cell system. The collaborative effort aims to advance PEM technology for next-generation fuel cell commercial vehicles, emphasizing improvements in performance and durability.
The collaboration builds on a longstanding relationship, with Hyundai Motor, Kia, and Gore having worked together in the fuel cell field for over 15 years. The renewed focus aims to jointly develop an optimized fuel cell system tailored for commercial vehicles.
Chang Hwan Kim, Head of Battery Development and Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Development at Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation, stated, “We are entering the next chapter of our partnership with Gore. 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.”
Michelle Augustine, Gore Clean Energy Business Group Leader, expressed anticipation for advancing the longstanding partnership, stating, “Leveraging our advanced PEM technology solutions, we will work together with Hyundai Motor and Kia to enable them to deliver fuel cell vehicles that provide a performance and cost advantage to consumers.”