SK Enmove
Hyundai Motor and SK Enmove drive the development of Next-Generation Vehicle Refrigerants to expand the thermal management market
2024.01.25 | SKinno News

■ On January 25, Hyundai Motor Group and SK Enmove signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development of next-generation vehicle refrigerants

■ The two companies aim to preemptively secure next-generation refrigerant technology and establish a circular economy to expand the thermal management market


Hyundai Motor Group and SK Enmove have embarked on a business cooperation to develop next-generation vehicle refrigerants jointly.

Hyundai Motor Group and SK Enmove announced on January 25 that they have signed a “Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Development of next-generation refrigerants.” The signing ceremony, held at the SK Building in Jongno-gu, Seoul, was attended by Yang Hee-won, President of Hyundai Motor Company, and Kim Wone-kee, CEO of SK Enmove.

Under this business cooperation, the two companies plan to develop refrigerants that can be used in air conditioning and heating electric vehicles (EVs) and build a circular economy encompassing the entire refrigerant business. This collaboration captures the attention as a case where domestic companies cooperate to enter the vehicle refrigerant market dominated by global corporations. SK Enmove is responsible for developing the refrigerants, while Hyundai Motor Group will develop the vehicle thermal management system that incorporates these refrigerants.

The next-generation vehicle refrigerant has enhanced heating abilities compared to existing products. Unlike internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, EVs do not generate waste heat from engines for heating. Therefore, they require refrigerants that can handle both air conditioning and heating. According to assessments by external research institutions, the refrigerant currently being developed by the two companies is expected to improve heating performance by more than 30% compared to existing refrigerants. Additionally, both companies plan to build this vehicle refrigerant for use in ICE vehicles.

By utilizing the next-generation vehicle refrigerant and combining it with their accumulated capabilities in thermal management and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) systems, Hyundai Motor Group aims to enhance the driving range of EVs during winter, thereby maximizing consumer utility.

SK Enmove is preemptively securing technologies for the next-generation refrigerant based on their decade-long accumulated expertise in research and development (R&D) in thermal management, including EV lubricants and immersion cooling fluids*. Furthermore, SK Enmove plans to secure global customers by leveraging its production and sales network, established by the export of its high-quality lubricant brand ZIC in over 60 countries.
*The term “fluid” encompasses both liquids and gases. They don’t have a fixed shape and flow easily.

Both companies will create products and systems that can promptly respond to strengthened global greenhouse gas emission regulations. Through this, they anticipate to corner the next-generation refrigerant market in advance. With the strengthened European Union (EU) regulations on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) expected, there is growing interest in next-generation vehicle refrigerants. In response, the companies are developing products that do not fall under PFAS regulations, and are also planning to establish solutions for the recovery and recycling of used refrigerants.

Kim Wone-kee, CEO of SK Enmove, said, “We are going full steam ahead, with full commitment to the next-generation refrigerant business, announced last year at the ZIC Brand Day,” and added, “Through this cooperation, we aim to contribute to the vitalization of the thermal management market and strengthen SK Enmove’s capabilities in this area. As a result, our position as an Energy Saving Company can be solidified.”




(Photo 1) CEO of SK Enmove Kim Wone-kee (left) and President of Hyundai Motor Company Yang Hee-won (right) are signing an MOU for the development of next-generation refrigerants at SK Seorin Building in Jongno, Seoul on January 25.


(Photo 2) CEO of SK Enmove Kim Wone-kee (left) and President of Hyundai Motor Company Yang Hee-won (right) are taking a commemorative photo after signing the MOU for the development of next-generation refrigerants at SK Seorin Building in Jongno, Seoul on January 25.


Related story