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Renewable energy

Hanwha eyes gains running hydrogen fueling stations for US startup

Aug 17, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)




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Hanwha Group may exercise its rights to operate more than 700 hydrogen fueling stations to be built across the US and Canada by US hydrogen truck maker Nikola Motor. It also plans to build its own solar power plants to supply electricity exclusively to the stations.

In 2018, Hanwha General Chemical Co. Ltd. and its affiliate Hanwha Energy Corp. invested a combined $100 million in the US hydrogen fuel-cell truck maker for a 6.13% stake. Each Hanwha unit put $50 million into the Arizona-based startup.

Their holding has soared more than 10-fold in value after Nikola was listed on the Nasdaq in June. Its enterprise value stands at $17.4 billion.

Along with the stake investment, Hanwha General won priority rights to operate Nikola's hydrogen fueling stations set for construction. If exercised, that means it would have rights over a network of more than 700 truck hydrogen fueling stations Nikola plans to build across the US and Canada by 2028, according to Hanwha sources on August 16.

“When investing in Nikola in 2018, we added the clause of giving Hanwha priority rights to operate the hydrogen fueling stations,” said the Hanwha General Chemical source. “Now we can decide whether to accept the operating rights after examining their business value.”

Separate from the operating rights, Hanwha Energy has secured the exclusive rights to supply power from its solar power plants to Nikola’s hydrogen fueling stations.

Hanwha Energy plans to build solar power plants near Nikola’s  hydrogen fueling stations, using Hanwha Solutions Corp solar cells and modules as well as its energy storage systems.

Assuming Nikola Motor has solar power plants installed at say, 100 hydrogen fueling stations and Hanwha is responsible for all the power supply, this will likely be equivalent to 2 trillion to 3 trillion won ($1.7 billion-$2.5 billion) in orders received.

Nikola Motor has recently secured an order for at least 2,500 electric garbage trucks from US solid waste collection company Republic Services in its first large-scale order.

A Hanwha source said the group will play a big role across the value chain of Nikola’s hydrogen ecosystem from hydrogen generating to storing, charging and operating the fueling stations.

By Jae Kwang Ahn

ahnjk@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article

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