SK Co., Ltd. Invests in U.S. Hydrogen Production Company Monolith as it Accelerates its Hydrogen Business Expansion

By June 3, 2021 4   min read  (733 words)

June 3, 2021 |

SK Co. Ltd. Invests in U.S. Hydrogen Production Company Monolith as it Accelerates its Hydrogen Business
  • Investment by US Monoliths… Green hydrogen, a global leader in eco-friendly solid carbon production
  • Blue-green hydrogen with economical and eco-friendly properties… Strategic alternative spotlighted before the commercialization of green hydrogen
  • A quick step towards securing key promising technologies in the hydrogen value chain of SK Corporation… Accelerate the realization of the hydrogen business roadmap

Investment company SK Co., Ltd. is accelerating the expansion of eco-friendly ‘turquoise’ hydrogen business, a key area of ​​ESG management, by investing in Monolith, a US company that succeeded in mass production of blue-green hydrogen for the first time in the world.

As a strategic partner in the hydrogen business, Monolith highly appreciated the expertise and competitiveness of SK Corporation, and as a leading investor, SK Corporation also secured a seat on the Monolith Board of Directors. In this investment, which was completed on the 3rd, Nextera, the largest power generation and renewable energy development company in the United States, also participated.   

‘turquoise’  hydrogen is hydrogen produced by injecting natural gas containing methane (CH4) as a main component into a high-temperature reactor and decomposing it into hydrogen (H2) and solid carbon (C)*. Since carbon dioxide is not generated during the production process, it is classified as an eco-friendly clean hydrogen along with Blue Hydrogen** and Green Hydrogen***.

The competitiveness of cyan hydrogen is that it has both the economic feasibility of blue hydrogen and the eco-friendliness of green hydrogen. The conversion process from blue hydrogen to green hydrogen because carbon dioxide is not generated during the production process, so it does not have to go through the carbon capture and storage (CCUS) process essential for blue hydrogen production, and it can be produced with less electricity than green hydrogen. It has great value as a strategic alternative to In particular, since it is expected to take a lot of time to mass-produce green hydrogen, such as securing the supply stability of new and renewable energy and commercializing water electrolysis technology (a technology that extracts hydrogen from water), expectations and interest in cyan hydrogen are growing day by day.

SK Holdings, which is pursuing a strategy to foster the hydrogen business in various ways, such as diversifying hydrogen production methods, expanding demand development, and preoccupying the global market, has secured leadership in clean hydrogen by adding a green hydrogen portfolio to the hydrogen business value chain and spurred the expansion of the global hydrogen ecosystem aim to do In particular, it is expected to further enhance the execution power of the hydrogen business roadmap, which aims to establish a clean hydrogen production system with a scale of 280,000 tons by 2025.   

Monolith, located in the state of Nebraska, USA, was established in 2012 and possesses the original technology to produce high-purity cyanide hydrogen and solid carbon by injecting natural gas into an independently developed reactor and then pyrolyzing it. 

Monolith completed the world’s first cyan hydrogen mass-production plant in June 2020, and is evaluated to be the only company in the world with process technology that has entered the commercialization stage. Monolith plans to continuously expand its cyan hydrogen production facility. 

Meanwhile, Monolith is additionally producing eco-friendly solid carbon, such as carbon black, in the process of producing cyan hydrogen. Carbon black is widely used as an essential raw material for rubber parts for tires and machinery. In particular, as the demand for eco-friendly solid carbon is increasing centering on the global tire industry, which is actively promoting decarbonization, high profits are expected in the future.   

At the end of last year, SK holdings established the ‘Hydrogen Business Promotion Team’, a group-level dedicated organization for hydrogen business. The goal was to become a hydrogen company. SK plans to produce a total of 280,000 tons of hydrogen by using SK Incheon Petrochemical’s byproduct hydrogen to produce about 30,000 tons of liquid hydrogen from 2023 and an additional 250,000 tons of eco-friendly clean hydrogen from 2025. 

In addition, SK Co., Ltd. invested about 1.8 trillion won with SK E&S in January this year to secure about a 10% stake in US Plug Power, a global hydrogen leader, and became the largest shareholder as the relationship is being refined.   

An SK Corporation official said, “As the global hydrogen market is expected to grow rapidly, the competition to secure technology in the hydrogen field is intensifying. We will implement various measures to build our portfolio one step ahead.”   

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