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powered by an extensive global network, POSCO delivers top-quality automotive
materials to many global automakers around the world.

A vehicle consists of the body where people and cargo are carried and the chassis where devices required for the vehicle to drive. Our steel intended for vehicles provides different properties in terms of hardness, workability, weldability, corrosion resistance, formability, paintability and linearity, depending on where it is used in the vehicle. With recently ever-tightening environmental regulations, electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (HFCVs) are emerging as alternatives to internal combustion engine vehicles. EVs are motor and battery of performance is essential, and hydrogen fuel the performance of hydrogen fuel cell is important. With excellent hardness, workability, weldability, corrosion resistance, formability, paintability and distincness of image gloss, POSCO's automotive steel is supplied only with quality products through a thorough quality certification process.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

A hydrogen fuel cell uses hydrogen to produce electrical energy. It serves as the engine in a hydrogen vehicle and consists of stacks of proton-exchange membranes (PEM) and separators. The separator provides a channel through which hydrogen and air can pass. For this application, POSCO’s stainless steel, capable of withstanding harsh conditions, is the optimal choice.

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[Exploring Hydrogen with POSCO #2] Hydrogen on Steel
“We must beat Asian countries.”In June 2020, Germany’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, said the above when briefing the national strategy. According to the National Hydrogen Strategy, Germany is to develop all technologies for producing, transporting, storing, and utilizing hydrogen in Germany. Investment in hydrogen power generation alone reaches 12 trillion KRW. How far are Asian countries leading in this area then? Korea established an eco-friendly hydrogen economy master plan in 2004 and announced a hydrogen economy roadmap in 2019. Japan fabricated a hydrogen fuel cell strategy roadmap in 2014, while China announced the China Hydrogen Initiative in 2017. Additionally, in July 2020, Korea announced the “Korean New Deal” and plans to invest about 73 trillion KRW (43 trillion KRW at government expenditure) for the Green New Deal, out of a total investment of 160 trillion KRW. And 24 trillion KRW will be invested at government expense for new renewable energy.The announcement of Germany to develop all hydrogen technologies from production to utilization has two implications. One is that the hydrogen business model is considered as an entire process that works as a value chain rather than viewed as in individual phases of production, transport, storage, and utilization. The other is that the success of the hydrogen business ultimately depends on the technology that deals with hydrogen.In December 2020, POSCO announced plans to achieve “Carbon Neutrality” by 2050 and a green hydrogen business model. By 2030, POSCO will focalize on equipping itself with hydrogen production capabilities and core technologies and nurture the hydrogen business as the group’s growth engine. And for this, strengthening its technological capacities for hydrogen is essential, which includes developing steel products for producing, transporting, storing, and applying hydrogen, increasing byproduct hydrogen production facilities, developing core technologies for hydrogen, and also hydrogen-based steelmaking technology.Then what are some of the technologies related to hydrogen? In the first part of “Exploring Hydrogen with POSCO,” we looked at the relationship between hydrogen production and steel. In the second part today, we will look at steel products for hydrogen transport applied according to the different states of hydrogen and the key material in hydrogen production and application technology — the stainless steel separator.[Exploring Hydrogen with POSCO]#1 Introductory (Production) – Hydrogen: The Partner of Steel#2 The Basics (Shipping) – Hydrogen on Steel#3 One More Step (Application) – Hydrogen-based Steelmaking TechnologyFirst, the most crucial factor when dealing with hydrogen in a gas state is “pressure”. When the pressure rises, hydrogen penetrates and degrades the metal, causing “hydrogen embrittlement,” which eventually breaks the metal. Molecular hydrogen (H2) cannot penetrate metal, but atomic hydrogen (H) is so fine that it can penetrate metal. Thus, when the pressure increases, the number of these atoms increases, resulting in hydrogen embrittlement.However, as the pressure of hydrogen increases, its volume decreases and results in better transport efficiency. So the technology is evolving to enable materials to endure the increasingly high pressure of hydrogen better. For example, the simple pipeline for hydrogen transport can currently withstand around 20 bar but extends to 100 bar to increase transport efficiency. In general, fuel cell electric vehicles should be able to withstand 700bar and hydrogen stations 99 bar. Then, what does 700bar mean? “Bar” is one of the units to measure pressure, and it refers to the air pressure 100m above sea level. For instance, if your waterproof wristwatch reads 10bar, it means that it can withstand a depth of about 100m. So, 700bar is an unimaginable amount of pressure — the pressure you experience at 7,000m. Converting 700bar into weight is 713.8kg/㎠, so in other words, it is similar to the pressure received when ten adults weighing 71kg stands on a small area the size of 1㎠.In the end, the key to commercializing hydrogen energy lies in the technology to develop a material that withstands high pressure. In addition, fuel cell electric vehicles and transport tube trailers have the issue of material weight reduction. This is why composite materials, such as carbon fiber, are currently used in hydrogen vehicles. However, composite materials are expensive, and if the price competitive steel handles hydrogen better, it will not only become a material that can compete with composite materials but also accelerate the commercialization of hydrogen.Unlike hydrogen vehicles that require weight reduction, the transport pipes and storage containers of hydrogen stations can withstand 990 bar pressure even with carbon steel, and the steel pipes used here are seamless pipes. Seamless pipes withstand pressure better than conventional welded pipes. The reason for this is because seamless pipes are made with round hollow steel pipes without welding, so they have no seams. High-pressure hydrogen storage containers are manufactured by expanding the diameter of seamless pipes, and the 990 bar containers use large-diameter seamless pipes that are currently not manufactured in Korea and depend entirely on imports. It shows that the localization of materials, parts, and equipment is paramount. Accordingly, POSCO plans to cooperate with seamless pipe manufacturers not only in Korea but overseas as well to prepare for the expanded steel demand of hydrogen pipes and containers.The most important factor when dealing with liquid hydrogen is “temperature”. When hydrogen is cooled to -253°C, its volume is reduced to 1/800 compared to its gaseous state, so transporting it in large quantities becomes possible. This also means that the tank containing liquefied hydrogen must be fabricated with cryogenic steel that can withstand -253°C. Liquefied hydrogen transport vessels have not yet been demonstrated worldwide, and Japan has built the only 116m long demonstration small ship.Another way to transport and store hydrogen is by making hydrogen chemically react with other substances to form hydrogen compounds. Hydrogen compounds include organic hydrogen compounds (MCH, room temperature) that combine hydrogen with toluene, liquefied ammonia (NH3, -33°C) that combines nitrogen, and liquefied methane (NHx, -160°C) that combines carbon dioxide. Compared to liquid hydrogen, hydrogen compounds can be stored at a higher temperature, making transport easier. As POSCO has already developed steel materials that can handle hydrogen compounds, the demand is expected to gradually increase if research and demonstration on making hydrogen compounds are complete.

l Singing Hydrogen in Stainless Steel

Green Hydrogen is the ideal energy source for a “Zero CO2” society. The most important part when producing this Green Hydrogen is the “Water Electrolytic Separator”. A separator is a metal that plays a crucial role when producing and utilizing hydrogen as a fuel. The separator is a passage for hydrogen and oxygen, and it should be highly conductive and corrosion-resistant. Hence, outstanding technology is required. There are two types of separators: “Fuel Cell Separator,” which is used to utilize hydrogen as fuel, like in fuel cell electric vehicles, and “Water Electrolytic Separator,” which is used to produce hydrogen.Since the Water Electrolysis Separator is in charge of producing hydrogen from water (2H2O → 2H2 + O2), it operates in a reverse reaction (2H2 + O2 → 2H2O) from the Fuel Cell Separator of a fuel cell electric vehicle or generator. Since the applied environment has higher temperature and humidity and is overall harsher than in the fuel cell, the Water Electrolysis Separator requires better corrosion resistance and conductivity than the Fuel Cell Separator.The “Fuel Cell Separator” is a separator put on the fuel cell of a vehicle and is equivalent to an engine of conventional engine vehicles. The fuel cell converts hydrogen injected into the car into electric energy. POSCO began developing fuel cell separators in 2006 and succeeded in developing and commercializing the world’s first ultra-high corrosion-resistant stainless steel separator material, Poss470FC, which was applied to the fuel cell electric vehicle Nexo in 2018.In the past, the separator was coated with gold or carbon material to prevent corrosion, but Poss470FC, which is evaluated as an innovative material, shows better corrosion resistance and conductivity, lowers manufacturing cost, and reduces product size without such coating. Poss470FC was awarded the Gold Prize in the 2018 New Technology Award category by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) and was selected as one of the “15 Industrial Technology Achievements Leading the Korean Industry” by the National Academy of Engineering in Korea in 2019.▲ A Fuel Cell Separator made with POSCO stainless steel, Poss470FC, on display at POSCO’s booth at the North American International Auto Show in 2016On the other hand, unlike the case for fuel cell electric vehicles, which operate under 100°C, the Fuel Cell Separator for power generators operates at 600 to 800 °C for a long period of time. So it requires high oxidation resistance and conductivity accordingly. As of present, stainless steel produced in Germany and Japan adopting pricey rare-earth elements is being applied. Accordingly, POSCO is striving to activate the domestic industry of fuel cells for generators with source materials by developing the low-cost, high-conductive steel, Poss460FC, that can replace expensive import materials.Related Article• [Exploring Hydrogen with POSCO #1] Hydrogen: The Partner of Steel Carbon NeutralityFuel Cell Electric VehicleFuel Cell SeparatorGreen HydrogenPOSCOWater Electrolysis Separator
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[Exploring Hydrogen with POSCO #2] Hydrogen on Steel
[Exploring Hydrogen with POSCO #1] Hydrogen: The Partner of Steel
“I believe that one day, water will be employed as fuel. Hydrogen and oxygen, the constituents of water, whether used singly or together, will be energy sources that provide unlimited heat and light. Water will be the coal of the future.”Jules Verne (1828-1905) is a French science-fiction novelist who achieved fame for his books “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Around the World in 80 Days”. The passage above is from his book, “The Mysterious Island,” published in 1874. The Mysterious Island is where Captain Nemo of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” spent the rest of his life after being caught up in the vortex of the Arctic Ocean. “The Mysterious Island” is about how five prisoners captured in the American Civil War steal a hot air balloon and flee to a desert island. Thanks to the main character, who is a master of all things, the escaped survivors live in abundance by making daily necessities such as bombs, wind power plants, and electricity on the uninhabited island. Using water as an energy source must have been what Jules Verne had imagined. However, 150 years later, his imagination is about to become reality. The era of the hydrogen economy is approaching before us.POSCO Newsroom would like to present to you the story of the encounter of “steel” and “hydrogen,” an eco-friendly material of the future. The “Exploring Hydrogen with POSCO” series will present to you the details![Exploring Hydrogen with POSCO]#1 Introductory (Production) – Hydrogen: The Partner of Steel#2 The Basics (Shipping) – Hydrogen on Steel#3 One More Step (Application) – Hydrogen-based Steelmaking Technology

l Steel, the Partner of Hydrogen (Sensitive to Pressure & Temperature)

Hydrogen is element number 1 on the periodic table and is also the first element to be created in the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. It is abundant enough to account for 75% of the universe and 90% of the elements. Water (H2O) is a combination of *hydrogen, a word meaning “making water,” and oxygen, and occupies 3/4 of the earth. Since it is possible to decompose and combine hydrogen and oxygen through electrochemical reactions, hydrogen, when used as an energy source, can indeed become a near-infinite energy source, just as Jules Verne imagined.*Hydrogen is a combination of the Latin words “Hydro (water)” and “-gen (make)”However, utilizing hydrogen as a raw material is not as easy as it sounds. This is because hydrogen is very sensitive and difficult to handle. In a gaseous state, the pressure of hydrogen is high, and when hydrogen is mixed into the air at a certain percentage, it explodes due to various external stimuli such as heat, flame, or sunlight. Therefore, materials used to transport and store gaseous hydrogen must be pressure-resistant and safe.If gases are difficult to handle, what about liquids? Hydrogen in liquid form is cold enough to cause frostbite even in brief contact. The boiling point of hydrogen is -252.88°C, so the material used to transport and store liquid hydrogen must withstand -253°C.A material that can withstand high pressure, reduce the risk of explosion, and endure cryogenic temperatures. The invisible force to develop a hydrogen society lies in the technology to make high-performance hydrogen materials. In the center of all this stands POSCO, the steelmaker that continues to challenge and innovate in new sectors.

l Different Types of Hydrogen

To find out about steel for hydrogen application, it is first necessary to understand “hydrogens” produced in various ways.The first is “By-product Hydrogen,” which is made by purifying hydrogen from by-product gases generated on industrial sites, like steelmaking, petrochemical, and oil. The manufacturing cost is lower than half compared to other production methods. However, the purity of the produced hydrogen is not high, so high refining costs are required to produce hydrogen with a purity of 99.999% for hydrogen-electric vehicles. Currently, POSCO possesses an annual hydrogen production capacity of 7,000 tons, utilizing the Cokes Oven Gas generated during the steelmaking process and natural gas (LNG). Among them, around 3,500 tons of by-product hydrogen are extracted and used to control temperature and prevent oxidation while steelmaking.The second is “Extracted Hydrogen,” which is made with fossil fuels. It accounts for more than 90% of the hydrogen currently produced. In general, the extracted hydrogen is called Grey Hydrogen (H2). The steam reforming method (CH4 + 2H2O → CO2 + 4H2), where hydrogen is extracted with a high-temperature reactor using methane (CH4) — a major component of natural gas — is the most common production method of extracted hydrogen. However, during this process, a large amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) is inevitably generated. It brings about an ironic situation where CO2, a greenhouse gas, should be reduced, but rather increases due to hydrogen production. Therefore, a new technology, which is Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) technology, is becoming more important. CCS Technology enables the capture, compression, transport, and storage of CO2 underground. Extracted hydrogen can be classified into two. Hydrogen that utilizes coal and lignite is called Brown Hydrogen (H2), and hydrogen applied with CCS technology is called Blue Hydrogen (H2).To efficiently transport large amounts of CO2 extracted in the process of blue hydrogen production, liquefaction is required, and steel for liquefied CO2 application must be of high-strength, thick, and able to withstand -60°C. Also, the storage tank will have to become larger to increase the efficiency of long-distance transportation. Last year, POSCO has already developed a steel product of 500MPa with a tank capacity of 51,000m3, a steel thickness of 80mmt, and the ability to withstand -60°C, in preparation for the demand for liquefied CO2 steel.The third is “Hydrogen from Water Electrolysis,” aka Green Hydrogen (H2), which uses water as fuel, just as imagined by Jules Verne. It produces hydrogen by electrolyzing water (2H2O → 2H2 + O2) and does not emit any CO2. However, it cannot be said to be CO2 free entirely, since electricity is required in the first place to electrolyze water. Therefore, when discussing green hydrogen production, the production of renewable energy, like solar and wind power generation, is inevitable.

l Steel for Solar & Wind Power Generation: A Must for Green Hydrogen

POSCO is also actively responding to market demand for steel products applied to solar and wind power generation. In the case of solar power structures, condensate corrosion caused by daily temperature difference influences the life of the structure. POSCO expanded into the market by applying its own PosMAC (POSCO Magnesium Aluminium alloy Coating Product) that has a tensile strength of 540MPa, stronger than conventional materials, and is up to 10 times more corrosion resistant. POSCO is also making continuous efforts to make more durable structures by increasing the strength of the material. As for steel products for wind power generation, POSCO already developed a full range of steel grades as of October 2019. Currently, one out of 10 wind turbines worldwide is made of POSCO steel. Also, POSCO is accelerating its response to the trend of large scale wind power generation and revised standards.Hydrogen is produced in a variety of ways, from gray hydrogen, brown hydrogen, blue hydrogen, to green hydrogen! In December last year, POSCO supported the Korean government’s 2050 Carbon Neutrality Declaration, and began establishment for its own hydrogen production system. The plan is to boost the production capacity of by-product hydrogen to 70,000 tons by 2025, and produce up to 500,000 tons of Blue Hydrogen by 2030 and 2 million tons of Green Hydrogen by 2040. The ultimate goal is to lead the decarbonization era by completing a hydrogen production capacity of 5 million tons by 2050 and achieving 30 trillion KRW in hydrogen sales.Did you know that “Green Hydrogen,” the most ideal energy source for the CO2 Zero society, is created through stainless steel? The most important component when producing green hydrogen is the “water electrolysis separator,” and it is this metal called the “separator” that plays a very important role when decomposing water to produce hydrogen and using it as fuel. The separator is a passage for hydrogen and oxygen, and since it must have high electrical conductivity and highly resistant to corrosion, producing a separator requires high-end technology. The key material of this separator is none other than stainless steel!There are two types of separators: one is the “Water Electrolysis Separator,’ which is required when producing hydrogen, and the other is the “Fuel Cell Separator,” which is required when utilizing hydrogen. More details about these separators will be provided in the upcoming series. By-product HydrogenCarbon NeutralCCS TechnologyExtracted HydrogenGreen HydrogenHydrogen SteelPOSCO
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[Exploring Hydrogen with POSCO #1] Hydrogen: The Partner of Steel

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