Seoul-listed S-Oil Corp on March 7 said it had purchased a 20 per cent stake in advanced hydrogen fuel cell developer Fuel Cell Innovations (FCI).
According to the South Korean refinery, the strategic investment will allow S-Oil to become the biggest shareholder of FCI and secure technologies for next-generation solid oxide fuel cells, or SOFCs.
Compared to conventional fuel cells, SOFCs have a competitive edge in price, as they use nickel as a catalyst, instead of platinum, to generate electricity. They can also turn more than 50 per cent of fuel into electricity, compared to an efficiency level of around 40 per cent for conventional cells.
S-Oil CEO Hussain al-Qahtani said: “This investment heralds our full-fledged foray into the hydrogen economy and it is anticipated to drive our sustainable growth. Our company will also vigorously join hands in the government’s efforts to cut carbon emissions.”
Based in Daejeon, FCI is a joint venture between Korea and Saudi Arabia with some 40 SOFC patents. The company has collaborated with Italy’s fuel cell maker Solid Power to develop products tailored to Korea and overseas markets.
On top of the investment from S-Oil, FCI will shore up investments worth 100 billion won ($87.8 million) and establish a production capacity of more than 100MW by 2027.
On the Korea Exchange, S-Oil’s share price surged 1,300 won or 1.50 per cent to close at 88,100 won on March 8 for a market capitalisation of 9.92 trillion won, with 1.56 million shares traded.
THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK