■ SK Innovation and SKIET jointly invest in Airrane, a specialist in gas separator technologies
■ To advance R&D in carbon capture efficiency by combining SK’s “Separator Manufacturing Technology” and Airrane’s “Gas Separation Technology”
■ SK Innovation subsidiaries enter “capture”, the core area of CCUS that is expected to have high growth potential
SK Innovation and SKIET invest in Airrane, a company specializing in gas separator technologies. This is to strengthen their competitiveness in carbon reduction by using SKIET’s world-class Lithium Ion Battery Separator (LiBS) technology for ‘Capture’, the core of CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage).
Airrane is a company specializing in gas separators, and provides design and manufacture of separator modules/systems as well as technical services, utilizing its technological capabilities in separator manufacturing. Starting from the National Research Laboratory (NRL), Airrane built its technological capabilities through joint development and OEM manufacturing in partnership with advanced foreign companies, such as Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Asahi Glass Company (AGC) Engineering CO., and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc. in the early business stage. The company is currently recognized for having globally competitive commercial technologies throughout the gas separator manufacturing process, from material design to supply, separator/module manufacturing and system design/manufacturing/operation/management. In the area of carbon dioxide capture, the company is working on expanding its business to supply CO2 separation technology, which is needed to produce pure hydrogen based on biogas and supply it not only to the petrochemical and cement industries, but also to stations for hydrogen charging or fuel cell production of electricity.
SK Innovation and SKIET plan to pioneer the separator capture market by combining their LiBS production technology with Airrane’s gas separator technology. To do this, the two companies decided to develop a new high-efficiency separator to stay ahead of the market and cooperate in improving the separator technology that Airrane currently owns. They plan to look for ways to enter overseas markets, such as those in North America and Europe, by providing competitive separator technology needed for carbon capture.
A carbon capture separator is considered an alternative that overcomes the limitations of existing wet and dry methods. The widespread wet method uses liquid absorbents to separate CO2. Although this method has the advantage of being able to reduce capture costs by scaling up, it faces challenges in that it requires a large plot of land, a significant amount of energy to regenerate the absorbents, and produces harmful substances to the environment when the absorbents are decomposed. Regarding the dry method, because it captures CO2 using solid absorbents with less energy consumption than the wet method, it can save costs and reduce equipment, but it has not been commercialized due to the fact that the absorbents are susceptible to wear and agglomeration. The separator method, which captures CO2 by selectively allowing it to pass through the separator, does not generate any waste or wastewater without using any chemicals or water other than the separator, and is the optimal method for factories with complex equipment and pipes. as it can be installed in a small area in the form of a partition module.
As the importance of CCUS to carbon neutrality is highlighted, the carbon capture market is expected to grow. This is due to the fact that it is impossible to completely block carbon emissions, while at the same time it is necessary to reduce the remaining carbon in the atmosphere. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry predicts a cumulative market size of 45 trillion yen for the CCUS-related equipment market by 2050 and an annual economic effect of 10 trillion yen due to global investment expansion in CCUS. In the global CCUS industry, about 60% of the economic effects are expected to be generated in the capture sector alone.
SK Innovation Portfolio Divisional Group Head Kang Dong-soo said, “We expect that our cooperation with Airrane will further strengthen our competitiveness in the CCUS field, which is essential to our ‘Carbon to Green’ strategy.” He added: “We will strive to strengthen our competitiveness in the global CCUS market based not only on the separator capture technology jointly invested by SK Innovation and SK IE Technology, but also on the capabilities of SK Innovation’s subsidiaries, such as SK Energy Utilization Technology and SK Earthon Storage Technology.”
(Photo 1) SK Innovation Portfolio Divisional Group Head Kang Dong-soo, Airrane President Ha Seong-young and Biz Model Innovation Office Head Lee Byung-in sign investment contracts.
(Photo 2) After the investment contract signing ceremony, SK Innovation Portfolio Divisional Group Head Kang Dong-soo, Airrane President Ha Seong-young and Biz Model Innovation Office Head Lee Byung-in hold the signed contracts and take a commemorative photo .