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SK E&C begins production of environmentally friendly fuel cells

The new production facility, named Bloom SK Fuel Cell Plant, is a joint venture between SK E&C and U.S.-based Bloom Energy, a global manufacturer of fuel cells. The joint venture was established in January last year to produce so-called SOFCs (solid oxide fuel cells) in South Korea. SK E&C owns 49 percent of the company, while Bloom Energy owns the remaining 51 percent. The two companies began trial production of SOFCs in July. They plan to expand production capacity from 50 MW in 2021 to 400 MW in 2027. The first fuel cells will be delivered to a power plant, which is scheduled to begin operations in January 2021. The power plant will then have the world’s most powerful fuel cells.

 

 

At the opening ceremony, SK E&C announced two other major achievements of projects using SOFCs. The first was winning an engineering, procurement and execution project at Equinix, one of the leading data center operators in the United States. It involves the construction of a 6.4 MW SOFC plant at an Equinix data center in San Jose, California. Groundbreaking is scheduled for April 2021, with commissioning eight months after completion of construction. The second advance is the signing of a memorandum of understanding between SK E&C, Bloom Energy and SK Advanced for a pilot project to apply hydrogen as a waste product from the chemical industry and use it to power fuel cells. SK Advanced’s PDH plant in Ulsan, South Korea, where the company produces propylene and other gases, was selected as the site. To that end, the companies are building an SOFC pilot plant that is scheduled to begin operations in April 2021 and will study commercial applications of the process over the course of a year.

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are the world’s most effective power generation for distributed applications. The fuel cell uses liquefied natural gas and generates electricity during a reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. The process far outperforms conventional fuel cells and generates environmentally friendly electricity without fine dust emissions and on a very small footprint. Numerous SOFCs are already in operation in the U.S., including at Walmart and Home Depot stores and the Morgan Stanley and Softbank buildings in New York.

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Julian Busch

About the author: Julian Busch is the founder and managing director of MPR International GmbH

Publisher: MPR International GmbH

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