South Korea's SK Group to invest $16 bln by 2025 in hydrogen energy

SEOUL, March 2 (Reuters) - South Korean conglomerate SK Group said on Tuesday it plans to invest 18.5 trillion won ($16.5 billion) over the next five years to establish a domestic hydrogen energy industry.

As part of the plan, energy company SK E&S will invest about 5.3 trillion won by 2025 to complete the world’s largest clean hydrogen production base in South Korea, parent SK Holdings said.

The facility plans to produce 250,000 tonnes of eco-friendly hydrogen annually from liquefied natural gas (LNG) while removing carbon dioxide, SK Holdings said in a statement.

The announcement comes after South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, last year outlined a “Green New Deal” as part of efforts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and cut its heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

A spokeswoman for SK Group, South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate after Samsung and Hyundai Motor groups, declined to give a detailed breakdown of the investment beside the planned hydrogen production base.

South Korea, which recently joined a slew of European countries setting net zero targets for carbon emissions by the middle of the century, announced in 2019 a plan to produce 6.2 million hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2040 and set up 1,200 hydrogen fueling stations. ($1 = 1,123.8000 won) (Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Joyce Lee; editing by Richard Pullin)