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S Korea's Hyundai Heavy, Aramco sign blue hydrogen cooperation project

Seoul — Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings, or HHIH, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco on blue hydrogen and ammonia projects, a Hyundai Heavy official said March 4.

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Hyundai Oilbank, the oil refinery unit of HHIH, will import LPG from Saudi Aramco under the MOU to convert into blue hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced from fossil fuel in a process that captures CO2 emissions.

"Carbon dioxide captured and stored during the hydrogen production process will be transported straight back to Saudi Aramco, which means there would be no carbon left in South Korea in the process," the HHIH official said.

The Saudi Arabian state-run oil company will use the CO2 to pump more oil out of the ground in a process for enhanced oil recovery, the official said.

Hyundai Oilbank plans to sell blue hydrogen to Aramco LPG for fuel electric vehicles or fuel cell power plants, or to use in desulfurization facilities, the official said, adding that the refiner plans to set up 300 hydrogen charging stations by 2040 across South Korea.

The HHIH official refused to disclose further details on the project, such as hydrogen production targets and import volumes of LPG.

The MOU also calls for Aramco to provide Hyundai Oilbank "blue ammonia" that is ammonia produced with the carbon emissions captured and stored.

The refiner will use blue ammonia from Aramco as fuel for its LNG boiler to be built by 2024, according to the HHIH official.

HHIH's shipbuilding unit, Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering, will also develop the world's first ship able to carry LPG and captured CO2 as part of the hydrogen cooperation agreement between HHIH and Saudi Aramco.

"With Hyundai Oilbank and Korea Shipbuilding playing a central role, HHIH would move towards clean energy focused on hydrogen and ammonia," the official added.

HHIH said in February it secured about Won 800 billion ($711 million) in a pre initial public offering of its wholly-owned ship repairing unit, Hyundai Global Service, for investments in the hydrogen business.

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