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SK Inc. to launch ‘turquoise hydrogen’ joint venture with Monolith

SK Inc. CEO Jang Dong-hyun (left) and Monolith CEO Rob Hanson pose after signing an agreement to launch a turquoise hydrogen joint venture in South Korea. (SK Inc.)
SK Inc. CEO Jang Dong-hyun (left) and Monolith CEO Rob Hanson pose after signing an agreement to launch a turquoise hydrogen joint venture in South Korea. (SK Inc.)
SK Inc., the holdings firm of SK Group, said Wednesday it will form a joint venture in South Korea with Monolith, the world’s first company to have successfully mass-produced “turquoise hydrogen.”

According to the strategic investment arm of the country’s third-largest conglomerate, the joint venture will produce hydrogen and carbon black products. The US hydrogen maker will provide necessary technology while SK Inc. will be in charge of production, sales and distribution.

Though hydrogen itself is colorless, it is given different color descriptors based on its source and production method. Just like blue hydrogen, turquoise hydrogen is produced by breaking natural gas into hydrogen and carbon. The major difference is, carbon is generated in a solid state during the production of turquoise hydrogen, not in a gaseous state during that of blue hydrogen.

Because turquoise hydrogen doesn’t emit carbon, some classify it as green hydrogen. Also, turquoise hydrogen is relatively cheaper than blue hydrogen, because it doesn’t require carbon capture and storage facilities.

“Solid carbon can be processed into carbon black, the main component of tires and mechanical rubber goods,” an SK Inc. official said.

The official added that SK Inc. aims to further utilize the solid carbon as raw materials for electric vehicle batteries. The company plans to begin a research and development project to verify whether the solid carbon can be used for anodes inside EV batteries. Anodes, made of graphite, are one of the four key components of EV batteries, including cathodes, separators and electrolytes.

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