South Korea's power utility and city gas provider SK E&S has decided to invest $110 million in the world's largest carbon capture and storage, or CCS, project in the US as part of its push for renewable energy business, the company said May 10.
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With the investment, SK E&S will acquire a 10% stake in Summit Carbon Solutions, an Iowa-based biofuel and renewable energy company, which is leading the CCS project joined by some other American energy firms, the company said in a press release.
The world's largest CCS project aims to capture and store up to 12 million mt/year of carbon dioxide from 32 corn ethanol plants in five Midwest states in the US, the company said.
The construction of the carbon dioxide storage facility and the pipeline will begin in the first half of 2023, with an aim to start commercial operation in the second half of 2024.
SK E&S is building a "CCS dream team" to dominate the carbon reduction market in the US and create synergy with partner companies through their experience in the biofuel business and pipeline operation know-how in the petroleum and gas business, the company said.
The project comes as the US has implemented the Renewable Fuel Standard program since 2015 under which the ethanol volume required for blending into gasoline should be at least 10%.
SK E&S, an LNG based power utility owned by SK Group that also runs the country's top oil refiner SK Innovation, has been bolstering its drive in the renewable energy sector under its energy transition scheme.
"SK E&S plans to use CCS technology in its gas field project in Australia to reduce its carbon emissions," a company official said.
Last year, SK E&S invested $1.4 billion to develop Australia's offshore Barossa gas field, under which it will import 1.3 million mt/year of LNG for 20 years starting from 2025. SK E&S holds a 37.5% stake in the field.
The company would also bring in the CCS technology to hydrogen production processes to produce clean hydrogen at its domestic hydrogen plant under construction.
In March 2021, SK E&S unveiled a plan to invest Won 5.8 trillion ($4.6 billion) over the next five years in building a massive hydrogen production plant and "the world's biggest" hydrogen liquefaction plant.