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SK E&S, Plug Power pledge W1tr hydrogen investment
Joint venture SK Plug Hyverse to build hydrogen tech R&D center, gigafactory in KoreaBy Kan Hyeong-woo
Published : May 2, 2023 - 15:54
SK E&S, a green energy company under South Korean conglomerate SK Group, and Plug Power, a US developer of hydrogen fuel cell systems, will invest 1 trillion won ($747 million) in strengthening Korea’s hydrogen industry, SK E&S said Tuesday.
According to the announcement, the investment will be made through the two companies’ joint venture, SK Plug Hyverse, established last year. SK E&S and Plug Power will invest 510 billion won and 490 billion won, respectively, to build a research and development center for hydrogen technology as well as a gigafactory.
As a core facility, the gigafactory will produce hydrogen fuel cells that can power vehicles and generate power, as well as hydrogen electrolysers -- which can use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen -- on a mass scale. The gigafactory is expected to begin production in 2025 to supply these products to the domestic and Asian markets. According to officials, the hydrogen fuel cells will be used for SK E&S’ clean hydrogen generation business at its Boryeong Blue Hydrogen Plant in South Chungcheong Province starting in 2026.
With the partnership, SK E&S said it expects to localize Plug Power’s cutting-edge technologies in hydrogen fuel cells and electrolysers to enhance Korea’s competitiveness in the global hydrogen industry.
SK Plug Hyverse will also invest in setting up liquefied hydrogen charging stations across the country to support the country’s movement toward hydrogen mobility.
According to SK E&S, the company will have an annual production capacity of 30,000 tons of liquefied hydrogen from the end of this year at its Incheon plant. The Boryeong Blue Hydrogen Plant will be able to produce 50,000 tons of liquefied hydrogen per year from 2026.
George McNamee, chair of Plug Power’s board of directors, said the company was deeply impressed by the Korean government’s initiative to nurture the hydrogen industry as a national task. He added that Korea will be able to grow into an export hub in the Asian hydrogen market in the near future through SK Plug Hyverse.
The investment decision was made during President Yoon Suk Yeol’s state visit to the US last week, according to SK E&S.
“The joint investment with Plug Power will be a turning point to bolster the Korean hydrogen industry’s global competitiveness. We will do our best to ensure that Korea can jump into the center of the worldwide hydrogen industry,” said Choo Hyeong-wook, CEO of SK E&S.
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