By Business Editors Lee Sam-sun, Jang Chang-sun, Cho Kyung-hee
The “Nujio’qonik” project, in which SK Ecoplant plays a vital role, has achieved a significant milestone in its total three phases, valued at US$15 billion project. The project has successfully secured sites for wind power generation required for its three phases, building upon the ongoing activities of the first phase.
World Energy GH2, the lead company from Canada overseeing the Nujio’qonik project, announced regarding its approval to utilize a national land for wind power generation granted by the Canadian state government on August 31(Korea time).
Nujio’qonik is an ambitious large-scale green hydrogen commercialization project, aiming to produce green hydrogen without carbon emissions by splitting water through electricity generated from wind power. This green hydrogen will be then converted into green ammonia and transported to various continents including Europe.
The project’s name, “Nujio’qonik”, originates from the native language meaning “where the sand blows.”
The project is located on Newfoundland Island in Newfoundland and Labrador, Eastern Canada, which includes Crown Land which is a designated territorial belonging to the Canadian Crown.
Some of this land is leased through a bidding process to businesses engaged in wind power generation and hydrogen production projects. The Canadian government aims to stimulate job creation and boost the local economy by supporting wind power and green hydrogen projects on the Newfoundland Island, which boasts abundant wind resources.
The competition for wind power site bidding was intense with 24 projects vying for approval. Comprehensive evaluations were carried out, considering project performance experience and power system connectivity. Only four projects including the Nujio’qonik project successfully passed the final evaluation. The approved land area covers 1077.91㎢, roughly 1.8 times the size of Seoul (605.24㎢).
With the acquisition of the state-owned land approval, the Nujio’qonik project has secured all wind power sites for its upcoming three-stage expansion. The potential wind power generation capacity is close to 4 GW equivalent to the output of 3-4 nuclear power plants. Earlier this year, the project also completed the acquisition of the Port of Stephenville, one of key assets for the production and intercontinental transportation of green hydrogen and green ammonia.
SK Ecoplant has secured a 20% stake in the project’s first phase through an investment agreement signed with World Energy GH2 in May. The company’s plans involve the supply and installation of electrolyzers for green hydrogen production as well as front-end engineering design (FEED) for the plant facility.
The EPC responsibilities for converting green hydrogen into green ammonia will be undertaken in collaboration with its subsidiary, SK ecoengineering. The preliminary step of pre-front-end engineering design (PRE-FEED) was successfully completed by the end of August. With a strong partnership in place, further achievements are anticipated during the subsequent three phases of the project.
The initial stage of this project will include a total of 1GW of onshore wind power generation for electricity production and 600MW of electrolyzers, including a combination of both solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOEC) and polymer electrolyte membrane electrolysis cells (PEMEC) for green hydrogen production.
When the total stage reached full operational capacity, it will have the potential to produce approximately 180,000 tons of green hydrogen and 1.08 million tons of green ammonia annually. The target timelines for green hydrogen production and green ammonia production are set for 2025 and 2026 respectively.
The project will utilize SOEC from Bloom Energy, designed to operate with high-temperature water vapor reaching up to 850 degrees Celsius. This innovative approach reduces the electrical energy required for hydrogen extraction, resulting in enhanced hydrogen production efficiency.
Notably, a 500-hour operational demonstration conducted by the Idaho National Laboratory under the U.S. Department of Energy established a world record by producing 1 kg of hydrogen with 37.7 kWh of power. More recently, NASA’s Ames Research Center demonstrated the world’s largest SOEC facility, boasting a 4 MW scale and producing 1 kg of hydrogen with 37.5 kWh of power, further advancing production efficiency.
World Energy GH2 has also completed submitting environmental impact statement (EIS) documents to the Newfoundland state government last month. If approved, this would mark North America’s first comprehensive environmental impact assessment for a commercial green hydrogen project, potentially accelerating project progress. It will be one of the first cases in the world.
“Bloom Energy was extremely pleased to see World Energy GH2’s success in the Crown Land bidding,” said Rick Beuttel, head of Business Development for Bloom Energy. “We look forward to strengthening our partnership with SK ecoplant by delivering our commercially ready electrolyzers to Canada to help bring the project online as quickly as possible.”
Kyung-il Park, CEO of SK Ecoplant, said, “As a key player in this cross-continental green hydrogen project, we are fully dedicated to pioneering the global hydrogen ecosystem at an accelerated pace.” Then he added: “As a leading contributor to the commercialization of green hydrogen by 2025, we are resolute in ensuring the smooth progress of the Nujio’qonik project.”