Hyundai points to Copenhagen as hydrogen proving ground

Pair of deals with Koreans could help widen green GDP gap with world


South Korea and Denmark established a ‘Green Growth Alliance’ today as part of South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak’s state visit.

The alliance will see the governments and green technology businesses from both countries working together in areas such as renewable energy, smart grid electricity, wind power and fuel cells.

It was also announced today that Korean car manufacturer Hyundai had chosen Copenhagen to be the first city in the world to test their new hydrogen powered cars, as it is one of the few in the world to have hydrogen fuelling stations.

According to Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard, deputy mayor for environmental affairs, the deal demonstrates that green technology can attract foreign businesses and create growth.

Speaking to Berlingske newspaper, he said: “Competition to attract car producers green technology is tough.”

“So it’s vital that we continue to develop urban infrastructure in hydrogen if we are to make it attractive for Copenhagen’s residents and businesses to choose electric and hydrogen vehicles.”

Hyundai is following hot on the heels of Renault, who earlier this year launched an electric car in Denmark whose batteries can be swapped at special stations.

The battery swap infrastructure, developed and provided by American company Better Place, is anticipated to be ready across Denmark by early 2012.

Proponents of the battery-swap system argue that by charging car batteries using wind energy not absorbed by the grid will both increase demand for more wind power and result in carbon-neutral transport.

Denmark has long been a pioneer in wind energy and now produces almost 20 percent of its electricity from wind.

But critics of wind power have argued that due to its unreliability, coal and gas power plants need to constantly remain on stand-by to make up demand when the wind stops blowing.

Both Korean deals come in light of a new report that showed Denmark remained a global leader in green technology, despite China’s dramatic 77 percent annual market growth.

The findings reveal that renewable energy technology and energy efficiency make up 3.1 percent of Denmark’s GDP, while in second place China it only constitutes 1.4 percent.

But China’s earnings of €44 billion dwarfs Denmark’s €6.5 billion earned on such technologies, show the findings of the report by German firm Berger Strategy Consultants.