SK E&S Co., the energy subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate SK Group, will partner with Plug Power Inc., a maker of fuel cells based in the United States, to enter the Asian hydrogen market.
The two firms agreed to form a 51:49 joint venture nine months after SK E&S and SK Inc., the group’s holding company, invested 1.6 trillion won (US$1.5 billion) in Plug Power to acquire a 9.9% interest.
By 2024, the joint venture will establish a plant to manufacture critical components for the hydrogen sector, such as fuel cell systems and electrolyzers, as well as a research and development center in Gyeonggi Province, which borders Seoul.
SK E&S stated that it will utilize Plug Power’s sophisticated hydrogen fuel cell technology to generate liquid hydrogen and distribute it to approximately 100 charging stations across the country.
Additionally, they committed to collaborate in order to benefit on the growing demand for hydrogen as a clean alternative fuel in Asia.
The joint venture comes as the country’s largest private natural gas provider expects to begin producing 30,000 tons of liquefied hydrogen annually in 2023.
In the long run, SK E&S stated that it will collaborate with Plug Power to commercialize “green” hydrogen, which is created by electrolyzing water with power supplied from renewable sources and emits only oxygen.