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Newly acquired LG unit to develop next-generation fuel cell technology

LG Group announced Thursday that it will jump into the fuel cell technology business, which it considers to be the next-generation energy source.

The conglomerate said that it invested a total of $45 million to acquire a 51 percent stake in an affiliate of Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems, a firm that has been key for fuel cell development.

With its majority stake in the Ohio-based firm, it will be newly named LG Fuel Cell Systems and it will target commercializing its own fuel cell technology for power generation within the next four years, said an LG official.

Chung In-jae, currently executive vice president of its flagship arm LG Electronics, will be serving as chief executive of the new company, its officials said.

“We decided to make the investment because Rolls-Royce possessed the fundamental technology for manufacturing fuel cells for electricity and we believed it could produce synergy with LG’s highly efficient electricity system skills,” said an LG official.

The move comes as the conglomerate is aiming to have green business projects make up 15 percent of its total sales by 2020.

According to LG, a fuel cell can generate electricity through chemistry and is capable of achieving lower carbon emissions by combining fuel air and air in an electrochemical reaction.

The company also said fuel cell technology could be named the next-generation energy source for it offers great potential in terms of efficiency, safety, durability and sustainability.

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)
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