Plug Power and SK Group’s SK E&S division have formed their joint venture announced earlier this year to provide fuel cell systems, hydrogen fueling stations and electrolyzers to the Korean and other Asian markets.
The joint venture owned 51 per cent by SK E&S and 49 per cent by Plug Power, plans to build a “gigafactory” for fuel cells and electrolyzer systems in a “key metropolitan area” in South Korea by 2024, as well as supply domestic and overseas markets in Asia. Over time, the joint venture is also expected to distribute the liquid hydrogen produced by SK E&S to about 100 charging stations across the country.
The partners published the plans in January when the SK Group announced it would invest 1.5 billion dollars in Plug Power, acquiring just under ten per cent of the shares in the US fuel cell specialist in return. At the time, Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power, saw “immediate strategic benefits to Plug Power to accelerate its expansion into Asian markets” and also expected “significant revenue generation” from the joint venture.
In today’s communications, Choo Hyeongwook, President and Chief Executive Officer of SK E&S, said the JV would provide SK E&S with a “unique opportunity to build a powerful hydrogen ecosystem with Plug Power, including green hydrogen production using electrolyzer technology.”
Marsh, in response, pointed to Plug Power’s ability “to scale hydrogen infrastructure quickly, expertise which aligns perfectly with SK’s exceptional local knowledge, capabilities, and vision for a green future. Here in South Korea, we’re thrilled to be working alongside SK to create a vast tapestry of hydrogen refuelling stations and key hydrogen infrastructure, which will power industries throughout South Korea and beyond while helping governments and municipalities reach sustainability goals.”
The South Korean government has set hydrogen as one of the cornerstones of its future industrial policy. It is accordingly promoting the development of a green hydrogen market and value chain. In January 2019, the government announced a consolidated plan to build the country’s hydrogen economy. By 2040, a hydrogen economy worth $40 billion is expected to be created in South Korea alone.
SK Group is a Korean conglomerate active primarily in the energy, chemicals and IT/semiconductors sectors. In connection with electromobility, the battery division SK Innovation has so far come to the fore. However, the group also includes SK Energy, SK E&S, SK Global Chemical, SK Lubricants, SK Incheon Petrochem, SK Telecom, or SK Communications.
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