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Fuel cells

S-Oil invests in fuel cell maker to enter hydrogen energy market

By Mar 08, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

S-Oil President Ryu Yeol (left) and FCI President Lee Tae-won ink investment agreement on Mar. 5.
S-Oil President Ryu Yeol (left) and FCI President Lee Tae-won ink investment agreement on Mar. 5.

South Korea-based oil refiner S-Oil Corp. is readying to expand its business into the hydrogen energy sector by investing around 8.2 billion won ($7.2 million) to acquire a 20% stake in Fuel Cell Innovations Co. (FCI), the company announced on Mar. 7.

S-Oil, together with FCI, aims to foray into overseas fuel cell markets, such as the Middle East, by first supplying fuel cells to Saudi-based electricity power and telecommunications companies. S-Oil is also developing products that meet the climate conditions in the Middle East.

FCI is a joint venture between Korea and Saudi Arabia with an extensive portfolio of around 40 solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) patents. The company plans to invest up to 100 billion won ($88.3 million) to set up a 100-megawatt production plant by 2027.

FCI has recently expanded into the green hydrogen sector, which creates hydrogen via water electrolysis.

“We believe that the hydrogen business will drive the company’s sustainable growth,” said Hussain A. Al-Qahtani, S-Oil's chief executive. “We will actively accommodate the government’s efforts to reduce carbon,” said Qahtani.

Meanwhile, S-Oil vice presidents Bang Joo-wan and Kang Min-soo were promoted as the new chief financial officer and the audit division director, respectively.

Last December, S-Oil announced Vision 2030, a long-term growth strategy that aims to maximize the profitability of existing businesses, such as refining, petrochemical and lube, while also pushing for new businesses, including hydrogen, fuel cell and recycling, to achieve sustainable growth.

Write to Man-su Choe at bepop@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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