SK Group plans hydrogen complex in Hyundai production hub city

SEOUL — South Korean conglomerate SK Group will build a hydrogen production complex in Ulsan, the manufacturing base for Hyundai Motor, looking to transform the city into a supply center for the green fuel.

Group company SK Gas leads the project, which will spend 2.2 trillion won ($1.97 billion) over five years. SK also plans to install 100 hydrogen fueling stations around South Korea by the end of the decade.

SK and Lotte Chemical intend to establish a joint venture later this year as part of the project. Their new company will be devoted to hydrogen technology with the goal of expanding adoption of the fuel.

The 140,000-sq.-meter hydrogen base will contain production facilities, storage units and transport infrastructure. A terminal will be constructed that accepts ships carrying liquefied natural gas, providing the hydrogen that later will be liquefied.

The hydrogen extraction process involves reactions of natural gas with high-temperature and high-pressure water vapors. The carbon dioxide is removed and stored, leaving behind the eco-friendly “blue hydrogen.”

Ulsan is South Korea’s biggest manufacturing nerve center. Not only does Hyundai operate several plants in the city, SK Innovation runs a giant refining and petrochemical plant there, which produces hydrogen as a byproduct.

The Hyundai group is the world-leading producer of fuel-cell vehicles, which are charged by hydrogen. The Ulsan area is also in the vanguard of developing hydrogen-burning power plants.

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