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- SK E&S (51%) and Plug Power (49%) establish a joint venture in South Korea

- SK E&S will enter the Asian market by building a hydrogen “gigafactory” and R&D center, a base for mass-producing water electrolysis and fuel-cell equipment

SEOUL, South Korea, and LATHAM, New York -- SK E&S, part of South Korea’s SK Group, is advancing its strategy to promote sustainable energy solutions by cooperating with U.S. hydrogen energy industry leader, Plug Power. On October 6, SK E&S announced that its shareholders had signed an agreement with their counterparts of Plug Power to establish a joint venture aimed at exploring the Asian hydrogen markets together.

The two companies began working together in early 2021, when SK Group companies made a $1.6 billion investment in Plug Power and announced a strategic partnership to accelerate the expansion of the hydrogen economy throughout Asia. The joint venture signing ceremony, which took place in Seoul, was attended by Hyeong-wook Choo, the President and CEO of SK E&S, and Andrew J. Marsh, the CEO of Plug Power.

During the ceremony, SK E&S CEO Choo said: “The establishment of the joint venture is meaningful as it secures a foundation to enter the Asian market based on hydrogen-related core technologies owned by Plug Power. It will provide SK E&S with an enormous competitiveness to build the hydrogen ecosystem, including green hydrogen production using water electrolysis technology.”

Plug Power CEO Marsh added: “We can successfully enter the Asian hydrogen market by utilizing SK’s global business capabilities.”

SK E&S and Plug Power will own 51% and 49%, respectively, of the joint venture. Under the joint venture, the companies plan to build a hydrogen gigafactory and R&D center in South Korea by 2024 with the capacity of mass-producing key equipment, such as hydrogen fuel cells and water electrolysis systems. The equipment will be supplied to the domestic market in South Korea and other markets in Asia. Later on, the joint venture will also assume the role of distributing liquefied hydrogen produced by SK E&S to around 100 charging stations in South Korea.

The PEMFC (Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell) to be produced at the facility has a high energy efficiency and simple structure and operates at a low temperature, expanding its use in various applications including automobiles and power generation. The process injects hydrogen directly, getting attention as an environmentally friendly power source that produces only clean water, electricity and heat.

The joint venture builds on the technology leadership of Plug Power, which already provides forklifts embedded with hydrogen fuel cells to the major global companies. Plug Power is also expanding into the global market. Plug Power has been strengthening its global partnership by establishing joint ventures with France-based car maker Renault and Acciona, the largest renewable energy company in Spain, earlier this year.

SK E&S has presented a vision of becoming a leading global hydrogen provider by utilizing its LNG business infrastructure and value chain integration capability. It plans to jump start hydrogen supply capacity by 2025 at an annual rate of 280,000 tons consisting of 30,000 tons of liquefied hydrogen and 250,000 tons of blue hydrogen.

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