- Building a green hydrogen and ammonia production plant in Hamra, Ruwais, Abu Dhabi, UAE
|▲ LTechUVC / CEO Juliana Lee|
Middle East oil-producing countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are pushing forward building renewable energy generation facilities alongside fostering eco-friendly energy industries such as hydrogen and ammonia production in order to boost growth through long-term hydrogen and ammonia exports.
In July, the UAE government announced a national hydrogen strategy that included an increased investment of 20 billion dirham (about 71.65 trillion won) in clean energy transition.
As Middle Eastern countries are facing the dimming oil era and eyeing eco-friendly energy, LTechUVC (CEO Juliana Lee), which is carrying out green energy business based on mutual interests of Korea and the Middle East, is fast rising to the center of attention.
LTechUVC has been granted 2.45 million square meters of land by the UAE government for the production of green ammonia and has signed a $500 million investment agreement with the local AL FATTAN group.
The future energy business backed up by 20 years of experience in the Middle East
Founded in 2019, LTechUVC has a capital of KRW 3 billion and is led by CEO Juliana Lee. Lee immigrated to Australia at the age of eight and completed her primary, secondary, and university education there before joining SK E&C, where she had ties with the Middle East.
Having worked in Abu Dhabi, UAE for six years, she was attracted to the Middle East and instead of returning to the head office, she built local connections and networks by implementing and constructing hotels in Iraq. With 12 years of experience in the Middle East and 10 years of human networks, she returned to Korea and started the future energy hydrogen business in earnest in 2015.
“Women, the Middle East, and construction don’t sound that they go together. But I was able to do energy business with the connections I had built in the Middle East for 12 years. Hydrogen was an unfamiliar business at the time, but now it is wide spreading and taking its place.” she recalled.
Starting with hydrogen-related businesses such as green hydrogen and green ammonia manufacturing, LTechUVC has expanded its scope to renewable energy and RE100 business.
The company is conducting hydrogen fusion infrastructure projects with local governments in Gyeonggi Province and aims to become a world leader in the green hydrogen-driven smart city.
Establishing a green ammonia production complex in Ruwais Hamra, Abu Dhabi
In December last year, LTechUVC signed an MOU with AL FATTAN Group in Abu Dhabi, UAE, to establish a zero-emission green ammonia production base.
Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced from renewable energy such as solar or wind power. South Korea generates solar power for about 4 hours per day on average, but the Middle East 10 hours.
The company has secured a site of about 2.45 million square meters (740,000 pyeong) in Ruwais Hamra, Abu Dhabi. This place has a port, so the produced ammonia can be directly shipped to the ship, and there is a vast desert in the back, making it an easy area to expand the 2nd and 3rd business base. The company is working on a project with the goal of starting construction within this year.
“We signed a memorandum of understanding with AL FATTAN Group in December last year and an investment agreement worth $500 million in January this year. In March, we participated in the Korea-UAE Business Roundtable and the next day established a Special Purpose Company for ammonia production with AL FATTAN Group. In May, we received a $20 million investment from AL FATTAN. I had a good trust relationship with the chairman of AL FATTAN before, so I was able to move the business forward quickly. Unlike other Korean companies, which are stalled due to lack of localization and understanding of cultural differences, we are moving forward with our business quickly due to our quick decision-making and high understanding of the local market.” says Lee.
LTechUVC will produce 60,000 tons of green ammonia per year using 200 MW of solar power. The company generates electricity from solar power and uses it to produce green hydrogen through electrolysis. Typically, hydrogen is difficult to transport, so the company converts it to ammonia, which is easier to liquefy, and ships it to South Korea.
“The UAE and South Korea have a good strategic partnership, so I thought about ways to bring hydrogen to South Korea. I could turn the green hydrogen into green ammonia, which is easy to liquefy, and bring it to Korea, where the hydrogen could be extracted and used again, or the ammonia could be mixed and burned in a thermal power plant.” explains Lee.
Joining in Hwaseong Smart Energy Project, aiming to start construction of a 20MW fuel cell power plant in Hwaseong this year
LTechUVC has signed an MOU with Hwaseong City and related large companies, and is preparing a 20MW fuel cell power plant in Hwaseong, with the goal of starting construction this year. The Hwaseong Smart Energy Project is a large-scale project involving power generation companies, local public institutions, and fuel cell conglomerates.
The project is a convergence project that incorporates not only hydrogen but also the concept of virtual power plants. LTechUVC is taking charge of the business development and license acquisition process, demonstrating its ability to go through a sufficient business description and resident consent process in advance.
Based on its long-standing know-how and business planning abilities in the hydrogen business, LTechUVC is developing eco-friendly convergence infrastructure construction projects with local governments nationwide. The company separates hydrogen from city gas through a reformer to run a hydrogen fuel cell power plant and captures the excess hydrogen to charge hydrogen vehicles. The facility includes electric vehicle charging stations, cafes, and rest areas.
LTechUVC’s electric vehicle charging station operation platform GREEN FILL consists of a parking tower (parking lot, electric vehicle charging station, neighborhood shopping center), hydrogen charging station (hydrogen vehicle charging station using excess hydrogen left after fuel cell power generation reaction), fuel cell power generation facility, parking lot solar power plant, and cafe rest area. It is currently underway in Gyeonggi Province.
An energy paradigm shift is needed for both government and business in this time of energy transformation
The global green hydrogen market is expected to grow from $676 million (KRW 90.45 billion) in 2022 to $7.14 billion (KRW 9.786 trillion) by 2027, according to global market research firm Research and Markets.
While many companies are taking the lead in the global green hydrogen business, LTechUVC is leading the way by building an all-in-one hydrogen value chain from production, storage, transportation, and utilization of green hydrogen.
Lee points out that even if a product is made with RE100, transportation must not emit carbon to be recognized as RE100, and there are reports that Korea will need 11 million tons of ammonia by 2030.
“There is an urgent need to secure ammonia as a national strategy, but the response from government ministries and municipalities is lacking. As a small but a frontier company, we are at the forefront of new green energy production. In the era of energy transformation, we need to change the perception of companies and governments, as well as public interest, to secure green hydrogen and green ammonia as new energy sources.” emphasizes Lee.
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