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S-Oil acquires 20% stake in hydrogen fuel cell developer

S-Oil President Ryu Yul (left) and FCI CEO Lee Tae-won pose for a photo after signing an investment agreement at S-Oil headquarters in Mapo-gu, western Seoul, Friday. (S-Oil)
S-Oil President Ryu Yul (left) and FCI CEO Lee Tae-won pose for a photo after signing an investment agreement at S-Oil headquarters in Mapo-gu, western Seoul, Friday. (S-Oil)


S-Oil said Sunday it has purchased a 20 percent stake in advanced hydrogen fuel cell developer Fuel Cell Innovations.

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 percent of fuel into electricity, compared to an efficiency level of around 40 percent for conventional cells.

“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” said S-Oil CEO Hussain Al-Qahtani.

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 ($89 million) and establish a production capacity of more than 100 megawatts by 2027.

By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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