SEOUL -- In an effort to grasp a clear technological lead over Chinese companies, Hanwha Solutions, a unit of South Korea's Hanwha Group, will increase its capital by 1.2 trillion won ($1.09 billion) for investments in solar energy and green hydrogen businesses which have been actively pushed by big companies in South Korea.
Hanwha Solutions said in a regulatory filing that the capital increase was endorsed at a board meeting on December 21. The company controlled by Kim Dong-kwan, the 37-year-old eldest son of group chairman Kim Seung-yeon, vowed to invest some 2.8 trillion won for five years in acquiring next-generation solar and green hydrogen technologies.
"The global energy market is facing a major turnaround amid the growing importance of responding to climate change to enhance sustainability," Kim Dong-kwan said. The company aims to combine solar modules and energy storage systems and increase investment in virtual power plants based on distributed power generation that integrates and sells surplus power by analyzing data related to the power consumption pattern of users with artificial intelligence technology.
A week ago, a consortium led by Hanwha Q Cells, a major photovoltaic manufacturer in South Korea, was selected for a state project to commercialize perovskite crystalline silicon solar cells by using next-generation tandem cell technology. Perovskite solar cells are cheap and simple to produce.
Some 200 billion won out of Hanwha Solutions' paid-in capital increase will be funneled into the green hydrogen sector. Green hydrogen is produced from water using renewable power while blue hydrogen is derived from natural gas with carbon capture technology.
South Korean companies have joined a government campaign to accelerate the introduction of a hydrogen ecosystem. In April, Hyosung Group partnered with Linde, a Dublin-based engineering group, to build a plant capable of producing 13,000 tons of liquefied hydrogen per year.
SK Group has proposed the construction of a plant capable of producing 30,000 tons of liquefied hydrogen per year from 2023 and 250,000 tons of blue hydrogen from 2025. POSCO has selected Fortescue Metals Group, an iron ore company in Australia, as a foreign partner for green hydrogen projects, to expand its annual hydrogen production capacity to five million tons by 2050.
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