SK Innovation investing $30 million in Amogy to co-develop hydrogen fuel cells
SK Innovation is investing $30 million in Amogy, a Brooklyn, New York-based startup to co-develop hydrogen fuel cells using ammonia as a green energy source, which is considered a more cost-effective vector for hydrogen than pure hydrogen liquid.
SK Innovation, an oil refiner, said Tuesday that it will collaborate with Amogy in developing ammonia-to-power energy system for heavy-duty transportation, with the aim of diversifying its eco-friendly business portfolio.
The companies held a signing ceremony on Sunday in San Jose, California, attended by SK Innovation Vice Chairman Kim Jun and Amogy CEO Woo Seong-hoon. Kim Cheol-jung, head of the portfolio division at SK Innovation and Lee Seong-jun, head of SK Innovation’s Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, were also present at the ceremony.
“SK Innovation’s “carbon to green” strategy and Amogy’s competitive technological capability came to fruition for the first time,” said Kim Cheol-jung of SK Innovation. “We will continue to build our green business portfolio by successfully carrying out this project, and also actively developing and applying zero- and low-carbon emission technologies.”
Founded in 2020, Amogy is led by PhD alumni from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who are developing an emission-free fuel cell energy system that cracks ammonia into hydrogen. Hydrogen extracted from ammonia translates into electricity to power heavy-duty vehicles.
“Lowering the carbon emissions in the large transportation sector is crucial in achieving the net-zero emission goal by the mid-21st century,” said Amogy CEO Woo.
Woo explained that ammonia will help cut carbon emissions as a sustainable energy source, because it “is easy to secure and abundant in quantity,” adding that “Amogy will fast track the technology development for the decarbonization industry.”
Amazon and AP Ventures, a London-based hydrogen investment company, also made investments in Amogy as shareholders in December last year, though the number of shares held by the companies was not disclosed.
Amogy finished test runs of a 100-kilowatt ammonia-powered tractor and 5-kilowatt drone, and plans to adopt fuel cell energy systems in other large-scale industrial vehicles such as trucks and ships by next year.
The goal is to develop a 500-kilowatt ammonia-powered fuel cell and a five-megawatt energy system, according to SK Innovation. A five-megawatt energy system is capable of powering a 1,000-ton cargo ship.
Ammonia, a compound of hydrogen and nitrogen, is considered an effective medium for storage and transportation of hydrogen. Liquefied ammonia can be stored and carried at below minus 33 degrees Celsius, whereas hydrogen requires a much lower temperature of minus 253 degrees Celsius to be stored in liquid form.
That makes ammonia a more cost-effective option as an energy carrier than liquefied hydrogen. It costs about $1.70 to transport 1 kilogram of liquid ammonia from Australia to Korea, while liquid hydrogen costs double that. Liquid ammonia also has a higher density compared to liquid hydrogen, meaning that a bigger amount of hydrogen can be stored in liquid ammonia compared to liquid hydrogen of the same volume.
Amogy’s energy system consists of an ammonia tank, hydrogen extractor and hydrogen fuel cell.
SK Innovation expects the company’s high-power hydrogen energy system to be incorporated in large cargo vessels or trucks in the future, accelerating the decarbonization of the commercial transport sector. The technology can also be applied to zero-emission forklifts, agriculture machines, drones and other mobility modes, SK Innovation added.
BY SHIN HA-NEE [email@example.com]