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SK ecoplant finalizes land stake for $20.4B hydrogen project

South Korean company receives 1,078 sq. km of land in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Nujio'qonik project received approval for four sites in Newfoundland and Labrador to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia. (Courtesy SK ecoplant Co.)

South Korean clean energy developer SK ecoplant Co. has been granted 1,078 square kilometres of Crown land for a $20.4-billion green hydrogen project in Newfoundland and Labrador which is central to Canada's clean fuel leadership ambitions.

Seoul-based SK ecoplant is a partner in the Nujio'qonik project, a three-phase green hydrogen and ammonia facility near Stephenville, N.L. being built by a consortium led by World Energy GH2. The facility is expected to operate in 2024, export green hydrogen to Europe by 2025, and green ammonia by 2026.

The project is to produce 180,000 tons of green hydrogen and 1.08 million tons of green ammonia per year when fully operational.

Approximately four gigawatts of wind power to energize the project have been secured, SK ecopark said.

"As a key player in this cross-continental green hydrogen project, we are fully dedicated to pioneering the global hydrogen ecosystem at an accelerated pace," Kyung-il Park, CEO of SK ecoplant, said in the announcement.

Securing the land and port

The announcement follows the Newfoundland and Labrador government on Aug. 31 unveiling the four finalist hydrogen companies which can apply for Crown land to install wind farms to power their hydrogen facility operations. World Energy GH2 was one of the companies picked.

Earlier this year, the Nujio'qonik project acquired the Port of Stephenville to help production and transportation of green hydrogen and green ammonia to international markets.

The project’s current state

SK ecoplant secured a 20 per cent stake and invested $50 million in May 2023 for the project’s first phase.

The company will supply and install electrolyzers to produce green hydrogen, and perform front-end engineering design for the facility. Pre-front-end engineering design was completed in late August.

The first phase will include one gigawatt of onshore wind power generation and 600 megawatts of electrolyzers, including a combination of both solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOEC) and polymer electrolyte membrane electrolysis cells for green hydrogen production.

SOECs will be provided by San Jose, Calif.-based Bloom Energy, which the release said is efficient in hydrogen production.

World Energy GH2 submitted environmental impact statement documents to the Newfoundland and Labrador government in August. If approved, SK ecoplant said it will be North America's first comprehensive environmental impact assessment for a commercial green hydrogen project.

Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador pushing for hydrogen

Canada looks to be a global leader in hydrogen production, according to a strategy document from Natural Resources Canada published in December 2020.

Newfoundland and Labrador has been at the epicentre of Canadian hydrogen fuel projects, with companies EverWind Fuels, Exploits Valley Renewable Energy Corp. and Toqlukuti’k Wind and Hydrogen Ltd. also permitted to use Crown land for wind energy production to power their hydrogen production.

EverWind invested $1 billion to acquire three wind farms totalling almost 530 megawatts to power its Point Tupper green hydrogen and ammonia production facility.

The Alberta government has also announced it would disperse $50 million through two organizations to support the western province's hydrogen industry.

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