SK E&C is accelerating the localization of fuel cells by producing the world’s best eco-friendly fuel cells in earnest in Korea.
Today, SK E&C held an opening ceremony to commemorate the completion of the Bloom SK fuel cell manufacturing plant in Gumi, Gyeongbuk. Bloom SK Fuel Cell is a joint venture established in January by SK E&C and Bloom Energy, a world-class fuel cell manufacturer, to localize solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). SK E&C is 49% and Bloom Energy is 51%.
At the opening ceremony, SK E&C announced two major achievements related to the promotion of the SOFC business. First, SK E&C announced that it has won an SOFC EPC (design, procurement, and construction) order ordered by Equinix, a data center operating company with the largest market share in the US. This project is the construction of a 6.4MW SOFC in the Equinix-owned data center located in San Jose, California, USA. Construction commenced in April 2021 and is expected to enter commercial operation after 8 months of construction. SK E&C plans to participate in this project as a power generation business and expand its business area to an eco-friendly distributed power generation business.
In addition, as part of the opening ceremony, SK E&C, SK Advanced, and Bloom Energy signed a business agreement (MOU) for a fuel cell pilot project that uses by-product hydrogen as fuel. This project is a project to verify commercialization using by-product hydrogen, a by-product of the propylene production process at SK Advanced Ulsan PDH plant, as SOFC fuel. If commercialization is successful, it can be expected to reduce operating costs.
To this end, the three companies plan to build SOFCs to be used for pilot projects in the PDH plant of SK Advanced Ulsan by April next year, and operate them for about one year to demonstrate commercialization. SK E&C is planning to perform SOFC EPC, SK Advanced will be in charge of land provision and by-product hydrogen supply, and Bloom Energy will be in charge of SOFC operation.
SK E&C has been working hard to localize SOFC for a long time. In 2018, it entered into the fuel cell business by signing an exclusive domestic supply right contract with Bloom Energy. The two companies agreed to localize SOFC in September of last year and signed a joint venture agreement (JVA). In July, they completed the construction of production facilities at the Gumi manufacturing plant and began pilot production of SOFCs. The production scale will start at 50MW per year in 2021 and gradually expand to 400MW in 2027.
SK E&C explained that domestic production of SOFC is significant in that it is’localization of the world’s highest specification fuel cells’. SK E&C said, “We started localizing the world’s best fuel cell technology, which is impossible for short-term development, through the establishment of a joint venture with Bloom Energy.” , It will also serve as a bridgehead to help domestic SMEs export overseas. He added, “It is expected to contribute to the creation of jobs of about 400 people through the sequential increase of manpower, and it will contribute to revitalizing the European and American economy.”
The opening ceremony held on this day was attended by SK E&C President Ahn Jae-hyun, Kang Gyeong-seong, head of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy’s Industrial Policy Division, Koo Ja-geun, Gyeongbuk Gumi Gap, and Gumi Mayor Jang Se-yong. KR Sridhar, president of Bloom Energy and Randy Ahuja, president of Bloom SK Fuelcell, also participated in the opening ceremony with an online video system.
Ahn Jae-hyun, president of SK E&C said, “We will lead the global eco-friendly distributed power market by enhancing overseas export competitiveness based on the excellent quality and price competitiveness of domestic parts manufacturers and SK E&C we will meet in the New Deal, new industrial and energy development policies, said, ” .
SOFC is the world’s most efficient new and renewable distributed power plant that generates electricity by extracting hydrogen from liquefied natural gas (LNG) and reacting with oxygen. Power generation efficiency is significantly higher than that of conventional fuel cells. It is eco-friendly energy that does not emit white smoke and fine dust, and has a small installation area and is safe. It is installed and operated in marts such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot in downtown USA, Morgan Stanley office building in New York and Softbank office in Japan.