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SK Group plans hydrogen complex in Hyundai production hub city

Joint project with Lotte Chemical in Ulsan to support 100 fueling stations nationwide

SK Gas will lead the project to build a hydrogen fuel manufacturing complex in Ulsan, South Korea. (Photo courtesy of SK Gas)

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 in Ulsan and also plans to install 100 hydrogen fueling stations around South Korea by the end of the decade. SK Gas plans to spend 2.2 trillion won ($1.97 billion) over five years, and the hydrogen project is part of the investment.

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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