Resource logo with tagline

SK invests in World Energy GH2 green hydrogen project

South Korea's SK ecoplant has agreed to make an initial investment of $50m to acquire a 20% stake in the first phase of World Energy GH2's green hydrogen project in Atlantic Canada.

World Energy GH2 has signed an investment agreement with SK ecoplant, the environment and energy arm of SK Group, one of the world’s largest sustainable infrastructure companies. SK Group operates more than 200 companies across the energy, life sciences, advanced materials, mobility, and semiconductor industries.

The agreement signifies the first overseas investment in a Canadian green hydrogen project. SK ecoplant is initially investing $50m in Project Nujio’qonik, acquiring a 20 per cent stake in the first phase of the project. This investment is SK ecoplant’s first investment in a wind-to-green hydrogen project globally, and is a clear indicator that Newfoundland and Labrador is rapidly taking centre stage in the clean energy industry.

John Risley, chairman, World Energy GH2, commented that the investment is validation that World Energy GH2 has all of the requirements for a successful project.

“Just nine months after the signing of the Canada – Germany Hydrogen Alliance by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and German Chancellor Scholz in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, trade and export discussions continue to advance between Canada and Germany. This investment from SK ecoplant reflects confidence in the alliance, and also reflects the speed at which this new critical industry is moving.”

“Canada is creating a financial climate that is attracting investments of scale,” said Risley. “Our country’s robust response to the US Inflation Reduction Act, including the Canada Growth Fund, Investment Tax Credits and Contracts for Difference, are innovative ways Canada is implementing to stand up an industry that can compete globally.”

Sean Leet, Managing Director and CEO, World Energy GH2, commented further: “This is an international company that can do business anywhere in the world,” said Leet. “Not only did they choose Canada, they chose our home, Newfoundland and Labrador, and they chose Project Nujio’qonik. SK ecoplant recognizes the benefits, advancement, and sophistication of this project, and we look forward to a prosperous partnership.”

“We are incredibly proud of all of our stakeholders, including our First Nations and community partners, who have been instrumental in attracting SK ecoplant’s investment in our project,” said Leet. “We welcome our new investment partners to Project Nujio’qonik, and we look forward to developing a world-class green energy project together.”

SK ecoplant will continue to be an important partner in this project, thanks to its expertise in green hydrogen and engineering excellence. The company has already completed a green hydrogen value chain that includes renewable energy sources such as wind power and electrolysis. SK ecoplant has established itself as a leading company in wind power generation, evidenced by its ongoing development of a 2.6 GW offshore wind power project. Its subsidiary, SK oceanplant, is a globally recognized top-tier company specializing in substructures for offshore wind power installation. Last month, Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant, assumed the role of Chairman of the Korea Wind Energy Industry Association.

Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant, says the investment in Project Nujio’qonik is a step toward launching the international green hydrogen industry.

“Newfoundland and Labrador is positioned to launch this industry in Canada and to be amongst the very few first-mover commercial producers of scale world-wide,” said Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant. “Project Nujio’qonik has world-class wind, abundant fresh water, a deep-sea port with close proximity to Europe, strong First Nations and community support, and support at all levels of government. Our investment in this project is a step toward producing first green hydrogen and ammonia in 2025 and taking a leadership position in the fight against climate change.”

“As the first Korean company to participate in an intercontinental green hydrogen commercialization project, we have a competitive advantage and see more future business opportunities,” said Kyung-il Park. “SK ecoplant’s rapid execution ability and extensive experience will help us become a prominent leader in the global green hydrogen and green ammonia market in the future.”

Unlock this article

The content you are trying to view is exclusive to our subscribers.
To unlock this article:

You might also like...

Former thyssenkrupp nucera CEO to lead Canadian electrolyzer startup

Canadian electrolyzer startup Hydrogen Optimized has hired Denis Krupe as CEO.

Hydrogen Optimized Inc., a subsidiary of Key DH Technologies Inc. (KEY), today announced that Denis Krude, former CEO of green hydrogen technology company thyssenkrupp nucera, will be appointed President and CEO starting April 8, 2024.

Company Co-Founder Andrew Stuart will continue to play an active leadership role at Hydrogen Optimized as Executive Chair, according to a news release.

Krude joined the thyssenkrupp Group, one of Germany’s largest industrial companies, in 1998. At thyssenkrupp Uhde, a chemical plant manufacturer, he held a series of progressively senior management positions. From 2016 to 2023, he served as CEO and a Member of the Executive Board at thyssenkrupp nucera, a leading technology and plant engineering company specializing in water electrolysis and green hydrogen. Among his accomplishments there, in 2021-2022 Krude and his team prepared the company for an IPO, leading investor meetings and other activities that set the stage for its successful 2023 public listing.

“The unique focus of Hydrogen Optimized on large-scale water electrolysis solutions for major, hard-to-abate industries aligns with my view that this market segment offers the most significant opportunity in clean hydrogen,” Denis Krude said. “With a strong foundation built on the Stuart family’s 120-year legacy in high-power water electrolysis, I see enormous opportunity for Hydrogen Optimized to become a world leader in clean hydrogen.”

The company’s patented RuggedCell™ system enables clean hydrogen plants up to gigawatt scale. The RuggedCell™ is a precious metal-free, high power alkaline water electrolyzer with a 0-100% dynamic range. Through a strategic relationship with ABB, an investor in KEY, Hydrogen Optimized has strengthened the RuggedCell™ offering through access to ABB’s world-leading power and automation technologies.

Krude, a 54-year-old German national, was born in Spain.

Read More »

SK invests in World Energy GH2 green hydrogen project

South Korea’s SK ecoplant has agreed to make an initial investment of $50m to acquire a 20% stake in the first phase of World Energy GH2’s green hydrogen project in Atlantic Canada.

World Energy GH2 has signed an investment agreement with SK ecoplant, the environment and energy arm of SK Group, one of the world’s largest sustainable infrastructure companies. SK Group operates more than 200 companies across the energy, life sciences, advanced materials, mobility, and semiconductor industries.

The agreement signifies the first overseas investment in a Canadian green hydrogen project. SK ecoplant is initially investing $50m in Project Nujio’qonik, acquiring a 20 per cent stake in the first phase of the project. This investment is SK ecoplant’s first investment in a wind-to-green hydrogen project globally, and is a clear indicator that Newfoundland and Labrador is rapidly taking centre stage in the clean energy industry.

John Risley, chairman, World Energy GH2, commented that the investment is validation that World Energy GH2 has all of the requirements for a successful project.

“Just nine months after the signing of the Canada – Germany Hydrogen Alliance by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and German Chancellor Scholz in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, trade and export discussions continue to advance between Canada and Germany. This investment from SK ecoplant reflects confidence in the alliance, and also reflects the speed at which this new critical industry is moving.”

“Canada is creating a financial climate that is attracting investments of scale,” said Risley. “Our country’s robust response to the US Inflation Reduction Act, including the Canada Growth Fund, Investment Tax Credits and Contracts for Difference, are innovative ways Canada is implementing to stand up an industry that can compete globally.”

Sean Leet, Managing Director and CEO, World Energy GH2, commented further: “This is an international company that can do business anywhere in the world,” said Leet. “Not only did they choose Canada, they chose our home, Newfoundland and Labrador, and they chose Project Nujio’qonik. SK ecoplant recognizes the benefits, advancement, and sophistication of this project, and we look forward to a prosperous partnership.”

“We are incredibly proud of all of our stakeholders, including our First Nations and community partners, who have been instrumental in attracting SK ecoplant’s investment in our project,” said Leet. “We welcome our new investment partners to Project Nujio’qonik, and we look forward to developing a world-class green energy project together.”

SK ecoplant will continue to be an important partner in this project, thanks to its expertise in green hydrogen and engineering excellence. The company has already completed a green hydrogen value chain that includes renewable energy sources such as wind power and electrolysis. SK ecoplant has established itself as a leading company in wind power generation, evidenced by its ongoing development of a 2.6 GW offshore wind power project. Its subsidiary, SK oceanplant, is a globally recognized top-tier company specializing in substructures for offshore wind power installation. Last month, Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant, assumed the role of Chairman of the Korea Wind Energy Industry Association.

Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant, says the investment in Project Nujio’qonik is a step toward launching the international green hydrogen industry.

“Newfoundland and Labrador is positioned to launch this industry in Canada and to be amongst the very few first-mover commercial producers of scale world-wide,” said Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant. “Project Nujio’qonik has world-class wind, abundant fresh water, a deep-sea port with close proximity to Europe, strong First Nations and community support, and support at all levels of government. Our investment in this project is a step toward producing first green hydrogen and ammonia in 2025 and taking a leadership position in the fight against climate change.”

“As the first Korean company to participate in an intercontinental green hydrogen commercialization project, we have a competitive advantage and see more future business opportunities,” said Kyung-il Park. “SK ecoplant’s rapid execution ability and extensive experience will help us become a prominent leader in the global green hydrogen and green ammonia market in the future.”

Read More »

Renewables developer snaps up wind, solar, and ammonia projects

Chicago-based Nova Clean Energy has acquired HyFuels, a portfolio of wind and solar development projects as well as an early stage green ammonia project.

Nova Clean Energy has acquired HyFuels, a more than 1 GW portfolio of mid-to-late-stage wind and solar development projects as well as an earlier stage green ammonia project.

Located on the Texas Gulf Coast, an area of rapidly increasing power demand and a leading center for American-produced ammonia, HyFuels is ideally situated to serve the petrochemical industry, ensuring Texas remains the global leader in this essential industry, according to a press release.

HyFuels, which has a current project footprint of about 25,000 acres, has a power supply that is split evenly between wind and solar, whose complementary generation profiles will ensure a steady supply of clean local power. The first phase of the project is expected to reach Full Notice to Proceed (NTP) in 2025 and Commercial Operations in 2026.

The parties did not use financial or legal advisors for the sale given their pre-existing relationship, a spokesperson for Bluestar Energy Capital, the backer of Nova, said in an email.

“Once the projects are built, they represent over $1.5 billion in CAPEX for the wind and solar sections alone,” the spokesperson added, noting that Bluestar provided financing for the acquisition. He declined to comment further.

HyFuels previously outlined its projects in filings with the Texas comptroller. The Big Spring project would be located eight miles west of Big Spring, Texas, along Interstate 20. Once operating, it would produce an estimated 400,000 tons of carbon-free hydrogen each year (about 1,100 tons per day), the company had said.

Meanwhile, its Green Lake project was described similarly in filings.

Nova acquired HyFuels from BNB Renewable Energy, a developer with a nearly 20-year track record of developing wind and solar projects across the United States and in Mexico, including for a range of industrial clients. Nova has entered into a long-term development services agreement with BNB, which originated the development in late 2020, ensuring full alignment on the successful delivery of the HyFuels project.

Since initially partnering in mid-2023, Nova and BNB have worked to advance the HyFuels complex, including completing necessary environmental surveys, securing a workable schedule for connection to the power grid, and ordering long lead-time equipment.

Commenting on the announcement, Ben Pratt, President of Nova Clean Energy, said, “The Texas grid is going to continue to need a variety of power sources to serve its fast-growing demand. Wind paired with solar provides a generation profile that industrial as well as utility customers increasingly want to see. We are excited to work with BNB on this important portfolio.”

Commenting on the announcement, Jos Nicholas, CEO of BNB, said, “Together, we and Nova look forward to working with and learning from this community in Calhoun and Victoria counties in order to bring low-cost electricity and green ammonia to this amazingly productive part of Texas and our nation’s economy.”

Since its formation in 2022, Nova has grown rapidly across wind, solar and battery storage. Nova’s project pipeline is positioned to benefit from 3 core themes: expansion and strengthening of transmission networks, new end-customer demand in areas like mobility, green fuels and AI, as well as growing build-transfer opportunities driven by increased utility ownership. With a project pipeline that now exceeds 5 GW of projects in 8 states and multiple power markets (including WECC, MISO & ERCOT), and with marked acceleration in each of its core development themes, Nova is positioned for rapid future growth.

Read More »
exclusive

US hydrogen and LNG developer raising capital

A Texas-based project developer is conducting a development capital raise for a flagship LNG and green hydrogen project in the Northeast.

New Energy Development Company, a Katy, Texas-based developer with offices in Boston, Texas, is raising between $5m and $8m for an LNG liquefaction, storage and re-gasification facility with additional green hydrogen production and storage, Partner Scott Shields said in an interview.

The company is not using a financial advisor, Shields said, noting that a larger second round capital raise will likely start near the beginning of 2024.

New Energy has secured a brownfield site for a peak-shaving LNG facility in New England with 2 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and 50 MW of solar pv, Shields said. Also planned is an expandable 40 MW PEM electrolyzer line.

He declined to name the state in which the project is located, adding that the company is trying to put a strong support system and marketing plan in place before the location is made public.

The proceeds of the capital raise will go in part to hiring local lawyers and engineering and design work (pre-FEED and FEED), through to FID, Shields said. The project will be built in two phases, Phase 1 being the LNG component and Phase 2 focusing on green hydrogen.

The LNG facility will be the offtaker for the hydrogen, which will run the plant when the solar is insufficient. Through an open season process New Energy has identified five investment grade offtakers for the LNG.

Ramping capex

“We’ve been self-funding up until now,” Shields said of New Energy, which has also put capital and development resources into half-a-dozen other projects around the country.

It’s time for a ramp up in capital expenditures and New Energy is in discussions with strategic and private equity providers, Shields said, noting that the company would prefer the former. Discussions include options to fund just the flagship project, as well as platform equity.

Shields noted that he has investment banking experience and that New Energy Managing Partner Alexander “Hap” Ellis serves as chairman of Old Westbury Funds and the George and Barbara Bush Foundation.

New Energy has partnered with McDermott International to develop patented GreenER hydrogen facilities, a modular, expandable hydrogen facility that can produce 24,000 kg per day (2,760 MMBtu) of renewable hydrogen. The companies in 2021 completed engineering deliverables for multiple designs which are marketed as ideal for grid-scale blending with natural gas pipelines, blending for existing or new power generating facilities and storage injection into salt caverns and above ground storage tanks.

The company has also combined GreenER LNG and hydrogen production and storage plants into an integrated energy hub, capable of producing an additional 200,000 MMBtu of LNG.

New Energy recently hired Chico DaFonte, formerly a vice president at Liberty Utilities, a subsidiary of Algonquin Power, as executive vice president working on LNG and hydrogen projects.

Read More »
exclusive

Solar-powered hydrogen producer raising capital for EU and US growth

A European JV developing off-grid hydrogen production units using concentrated solar power – “white hydrogen” – plans to raise capital for growth in Europe and the US.

hysun, a Spanish JV between European firms Nanogap and Tewer Engineering, will raise $15m over three years for its first industrial plant and commercialization by 2026, CEO and Co-founder Tatiana Lopez said in an interview.

hysun has not engaged a financial advisor to date, but is open to meetings, Lopez said.

The new venture, formed in November, has raised $2m and is actively seeking another $3m (pre-money valuation of $10m) equity for a100 g H2/h prototype to close by the end of the year.

The company will then need $4m for an industrial plant, locations for which are being scouted now in the US and Europe. After that, the founders intend to enter a commercialization phase.

hysun’s intellectual property allows it to produce off-grid “white hydrogen” via steam generated with concentrated solar technology, Lopez said. The lack of electrolyzers means about eight times less land is needed to generate projects as large as 200 MW assuming 2,500 hours of sunlight per year.

“You don’t need to be next to a wind farm or solar plant,” Lopez said, adding that the hydrogen is produced at $1 per kilo.

Average project sizes range between 50 and 100 tonnes per year, assuming the same amount of sunlight, though the technology is applicable on a micro scale. The company sees the end uses being for ammonia production, replacement of grey hydrogen in industry and remote location deployment.

Lopez said the company is interested in growing in the US and Europe but believes the US will develop its industry faster.

Read More »
Recource
exclusive

Turnt up about turndown ratios

Optimizing electrolysis for renewables depends not just on how far you can turn the machine up, but how far you can turn it down. We asked electrolyzer makers: how low can you go?

Optimizing electrolysis for renewables depends not just on how far you can turn the machine up, but how far you can turn it down.

A consensus is growing around the importance of turndown ratios for electrolyzers, with a variety of use cases for green hydrogen requiring the machines to be run at low levels during periods of high power pricing.

Proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers are known for their ability to quickly ramp production up and down, but manufacturers of all stripes have begun to tout their technologies’ turndown ratios, with implications for capital costs and the levelized cost of producing hydrogen from renewable power.

Simply put, some electrolyzer plant operators will likely seek to lower hydrogen production during periods of high power pricing, since the cost of electricity is the largest operating expense. But cycling the electrolyzers completely off and on can lead to added system degradation, giving importance to the ability of the machines to run at low levels.

A study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) analyzes a US grid buildout through 2050, noting favorable locations and seasonality for power pricing as something of a guideline for green hydrogen development. The study notes that the lowest achievable turndown ratio is a main factor in minimizing hydrogen levelized cost along with the number of hours a system can operate at that minimum level – something that applies to all types of electrolyzers.

“When you start to look at hourly costs from the data in different locations, you see that all of this renewable buildout is going to create opportunities in given locations where you going to have a lot of renewable generation and not a lot of load on the system and that’s going to drive the cost for that energy down,” said Alex Badgett, an author of the study at NREL.

To be sure, the fast-moving technological environment for electrolysis leaves open the possibility for efficiency gains and disruptive innovation. And a variety of factors – balance of plant, energy efficiency, system degradation – also influence plant economics. But the lowest possible turndown ratios will drive opportunities for green hydrogen developers, Badgett said.

ReSource reviewed available spec sheets for electrolyzer providers and asked every maker of PEM and SOEC systems to detail the turndown capabilities of their machines. Alkaline electrolyzers were left out of the analysis given their more limited load flexibility, as their separators are less effective at preventing potentially dangerous cross-diffusion of gasses. Some manufacturers are fully transparent regarding turndown ranges while others declined to comment or did not reply to inquiries.

‘Not trivial’

In designing projects, developers are analyzing hourly energy supply schedules and pairing the outlook with what is known about available technology options.

“Some electrolyzers like to operate at half power, and others like to operate at full power, and in any given system, you can have between 10 and 50 electrolyzers wired and plumbed in parallel,” said Mike Grunow, who leads the Power-to-X platform at Strata Clean Energy.

“Our thought process even goes down to: let’s say you have to operate the H2 plant at 25% throughput. Do you operate all of the electrolyzers at 25%, or do you turn 75% of the electrolyzers off and only operate 25% at full power?”

The difference in the schemes, he added, is “not trivial as each technology has different efficiency curves and drivers of degradation.”

Different use cases for the hydrogen derivative, meanwhile, lead to different natural selection of technologies, Grunow said, adding that the innovation cycle is now happening every 12 months, requiring a close eye on advances in technology. 

Electrolyzer start-up Electric Hydrogen, a maker of PEM electrolyzers, is commercializing a 100 MW system that can turn down to 10%, according to Jason Mortimer, SVP of global sales at the company.

HyAxium, another start-up, can turn its system down to 10%, according to its materials. Norway-based Hystar, which recently announced plans to build a plant in the US, also promotes a 10% turndown ratio.

A more established PEM electrolyzer provider, Cummins, advertises turndown ratios of 5% for its machines. Sungrow Power, a China-based manufacturer, similarly advertises 5% for PEM electrolyzers.

Siemens Energy has a minimum turndown ratio per stack of 40%, but for a single system it can be less in exceptional cases, according to Claudia Nehring, a company spokesperson.

“We focus on large systems” – greater than 100 MW – “and currently consider this value to be appropriate, taking into account the optimization between efficiency, degradation and dynamics, but are working on an improvement,” she said via email.

ITM Power declined to provide details but said its turndown capabilities are “to be expected” for a market leader in this technology. Materials from German-based H-Tec Systems note a modulation rate down to 10%.

Additional PEM makers Nel, Ohmium, Elogen, H2B2, Hoeller Electrolyzer, Plug Power, Shanghai Electric, and Teledyne Energy Systems did not respond to requests for information.

PEM alternatives

Other forms of electrolysis can also ramp dynamically. And some project developers point to PEM’s use of iridium, part of the platinum metals family, as a drawback due to potential scarcity issues.

Verdagy, for example, has developed an advanced alkaline water electrolysis (AWE) system called eDynamic that it says takes the best of PEM and alkaline technologies while designing out the downsides.

The company’s technology “addresses the barriers that limited traditional AWE adoption by using single-element cells that can operate efficiently at high current densities,” executives said in response to emailed questions. 

“The ability to operate at very high current densities, coupled with a balance of stack and balance of plant optimized for dynamic operation, allow Verdagy’s electrolyzers to operate across a very broad range spanning 0.1-2.0 A/cm2,” they said.

In other words, the machine can turn down to 5%, part of the design that enables operators “to modulate production to take advantage of time-of-day pricing and/or fluctuations in energy production.”

Meanwhile, German-based Thysenkrupp Nucera, another maker of advanced water electrolyzers, advertises a 10% turndown ratio.

SOEC

A relatively new electrolysis technology, the solid oxide electrolyzer cell has also proven to be capable of low turndown ratios. Solid oxide electrolysis is particularly attractive when paired with high-temperature industrial processes, where heat can be captured and fed back into the high-temperature SOEC process, making it more efficient.

Joel Moser, the CEO of First Ammonia, said he chose SOEC from Denmark-based Haldor Topsoe in part because the machines can be turned completely off with no degradation, as long as you keep them warm.

“Generally speaking we expect to ramp up and ramp down between 100% and 10%,” he said. “We can turn them off as long as we keep them warm, and then we can turn them right back on.”

Still, SOEC systems are not without challenges.

“Low stack power and high operating temperature, which in turn requires more ancillary equipment to operate the electrolyzer, are widely viewed as the main drawbacks of SOEC technology,” according to a report from the Clean Air Task Force, which explores SOEC technology and its commercial prospects. “SOEC systems are also considered to have a shorter operating life due to thermal stress.”

Additional makers of SOEC machines Bloom Energy, Ceres, Elcogen, Genvia, SolydERA, and Toshiba did not respond to inquiries.

At NREL, researchers are watching for more automation and scale in the electrolyzer production process to bring costs down. Increasing efficiency through balance-of-plant improvements is another opportunity to reduce system costs.

In addition, more analysis of how large electrolyzer projects will impact the future electrical grid is required, according to Badgett.

The NREL team modeled the hourly marginal cost at any given time in any location in the US, but the model assumes that the electrolyzer takes energy without impacting the cost of energy.

“When we start to get to gigawatt-scale electrolysis,” he said, “that’s going to significantly impact prices, as well as how the grid is going to build out.”

Read More »

Welcome Back

Get Started

Sign up for a free 15-day trial and get the latest clean fuels news in your inbox.