By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, May 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Wednesday it plans to launch a two-year pilot program to test hydrogen fuel cell cargo trucks in its latest effort to use environment friendly vehicles in a wider scope of areas, which was previously limited to passenger transportation.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hyundai Motor Co., Hyundai Glovis Co., CJ Logistics Corp., and Coupang Inc., paving the way for the country to test run hydrogen cargo trucks starting next year.
Hyundai Glovis is a logistics arm of Hyundai Motor Group. Coupang is the country's top e-commerce company that has expanded its presence through its same-day delivery service.
Under the project, South Korea will have five units of 10-ton cargo trucks to deliver goods between logistics centers in North Chungcheong and Gyeonggi Provinces through 2022.
South Korea plans to begin fully supplying hydrogen-powered cargo trucks in 2023 after the pilot project.
The country has been penetrating deeper into the industry for hydrogen fuel cell cars in line with its green energy policy. It also hopes that the new energy drive will create new business opportunities for local carmakers.
Hydrogen is an environment friendly alternative to fossil fuels, as automobiles running on it only create water in the process of generating power. It can be produced by processing liquefied natural gas or as a by-product of industrial facilities, including petrochemical plants.
Earlier this month, the country announced that it will deploy a five-ton compressed natural gas truck in the southern city of Changwon to collect trash, using hydrogen-powered cars in a wider scope of areas.
Under the country's bold blueprint, South Korea will have up to 40,000 hydrogen buses running on streets in 2040, up from 35 units in 2019. Hydrogen fuel cell taxis, which came to 10 units last year, will increase to 80,000 units by 2040.
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