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SK Plug Hyverse, Coupang, and Kendall Square are Set to Build South Korea’s First ‘Eco-friendly Hydrogen Fulfillment Centers’

– SK Plug Hyverse, Coupang Fulfillment Services), and Kendall Square Asset Management have signed an MOU for Construction and Operation of “Eco-friendly Hydrogen Fulfillment Centers”
– The cooperation is aimed to phase in the “Eco-friendly Hydrogen Fulfillment Centers” starting with the conversion of electric forklifts to fuel cell and hydrogen power, and the construction of hydrogen refueling stations in the Cheonan, Korea fulfillment center

Source: SK E&S press release

SK Plug Hyverse, Coupang and Kendall Square have teamed up to build the first eco-friendly hydrogen logistics center in Korea.

SK Plug Hyverse, a joint venture formed by SK E&S and Plug (NASDAQ: PLUG) for hydrogen business cooperation, announced on September 1st that it has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for construction and operation of eco-friendly hydrogen fulfillment centers with Coupang Fulfillment Services (CFS) and Kendall Square Asset Management.   

CFS is a subsidiary of Coupang, the leading e-commerce business of Korea with more than 100 logistics facilities in over 30 locations throughout the country. Kendal Square is a leading asset management company in the country specializing in fulfillment centers and operates 42 logistics centers.

The MOU sets out intentions to cooperate for building the first eco-friendly hydrogen fulfillment center in Korea by introducing hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts and building hydrogen fueling and storage infrastructure at the Mokcheon Coupang Fulfillment Center, located in South Chungcheong Province of Korea. The Fulfilment Center is 148,000㎡ in size and is owned by Kendall Square and rented by Coupang.

As the first stage of the project, Coupang will start converting its battery-powered forklift fleet to  hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles in the second half of 2023. SK Plug Hyverse will enable a hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklift fleet, build hydrogen refueling stations and provide hydrogen fuel. Kendall Square will support the project by providing the pad, necessary permissions and licenses for the refueling stations.

As the project moves forward, the companies will explore the potential for expanding the “Eco-friendly Hydrogen Fulfillment Center” model to other fulfillment centers.

The MOU is especially note-worthy in that SK E&S, the leading hydrogen company in Korea, Coupang, the biggest e-commerce company and Plug who owns leading technology through whole hydrogen value chain, join forces to enhance the environmental-friendliness of the logistics industry.

The logistics industry has recently joined the trend to reduce carbon emissions, addressing the environmental risks  caused by diesel-fueled forklifts. Battery-based electric vehicles eliminate noise and fume concerns, but have limitations related to short operating time and lengthy recharging time,  spanning as long as 6 hours.  

The hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklift fleet can run 8 hours at maximum power on a single fuel, and be refuled in 3 to 5 minutes, making them improve productivity. Using Plug’s fuel cell power solution eliminates the costs associated with handling and storing toxic materials found in battery operations and results in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating battery charging. Heat and water are the only byproducts of energy generation.

SK Plug Hyverse is highly competitive in providing hydrogen solution to distribution centers as it adopts fuel cell technology developed and manufactured by Plug, holders of 95% market share for hydrogen fuel cells in the material handling market.  In creating the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell technology, the company has deployed more than 60,000 fuel cell systems and over 165 fueling stations,  with companies in the US and Europe such as Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot. Plug’s fuel cells are drop-in power solutions for existing electric Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 material handling electric truck fleets. GenDrive, a fuel cell system made by Plug is an all-in-one fuel cell package can be simply installed to the battery box of the existing electric forklifts, meaning that it can be applied to more than 100 types of electric forklift models worldwide.  

Currently, SK Plug Hyverse plans to build Giga-factory, a hub for producing and researching hydrogen equipment in Incheon, Korea and intends to begin production by the end of 2023 with the cooperation of major forklift manufacturers such as Doosan Bobcat, and Clark.

Ji Young Lee, CEO of SK Plug Hyverse and Head of Global Hydrogen Business of SK E&S, said during the ceremony, “The MOU is a significant step, as it laid the cornerstone for building the “Eco-friendly Hydrogen Fulfillment Center” for the first time in the country.” She added, “SK Plug Hyverse will continue to make contributions for accelerating establishment of hydrogen ecosystems by providing a comprehensive solution from hydrogen production to refueling infrastructure and supply of fuel cells for vehicles and generations with the support of SK E&S and Plug.”

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